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Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Everything Local conference strengthens Illinois food supply chain

vegetables at a farmers market

Illinois producers and agribusiness leaders are increasingly seeking new opportunities to boost local food systems. Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), Illinois Specialty Growers Association (ISGA) and the Illinois Farmers Market Association (IFMA) are excited to announce the return of the From Food to Flowers: Everything Local conference this January.

“Producers want to know more about getting the most from their farms, and local food interests farmers markets want to work with excellent producers to promote our state’s local food systems,” said Raghela Scavuzzo, IFB associate director of food systems development. “These efforts to build relationships don’t stop at the fencerow or market gate.”

Everything Local will take place Jan. 17-19, in person at the Springfield Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, and virtually through an online conference portal.

Visit specialty growers website for more information or to register. Media interested in attending should email Sierra Henry, IFB media relations specialist, at

The conference combines the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference and Live Local: Local Food & Farmers Market Conference. It will feature three general sessions with leaders in the industry, more than 100 educational sessions and 65 trade show exhibitors. Topics include specialty crop production, farmers market management, community food development, business development, funding and financing and more.

In addition for four other keynote speakers and panel discussions, Chef Rick Bayless will join the conference for a fireside chat. Bayless won the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters with his authentic Mexican cuisine. He also hosts a highly rated Public Television series, Mexico – One Plate at a Time, which is broadcast coast to coast and has earned him multiple Daytime Emmy nominations for Best Culinary Host. Bayless has authored nine cookbooks.

Aside from networking opportunities to develop and share new ideas, attendees of the conference will have the chance to:

  • Hear perspectives from general session keynote speakers who understand and champion the specialty and local food markets.
  • Engage in breakout tracks ranging from grower production practices and business development to farmers market management and community food systems.
  • Attend workshops on GAP certification, farm-to-school training, social media management and more.
  • Interact with vendors, associations and non-profits at the conference’s trade show.

“This one-of-a-kind conference connects farmers and agribusiness leaders across the state to enhance the robust Illinois local and specialty agriculture system through a variety of networking opportunities in one location,” said Randy Graham, Illinois Specialty Growers Association chairman. “Everything Local provides the opportunities to growers, buyers and local food leaders to network and connect.”

Other highlights taking place will be the Illinois Apple Cider Contest, the three hosting organizations’ annual meetings, awards, meet-the-buyer events, stakeholder meetings, specialized trainings, and workshops.

“In addition to offering ample networking opportunities, attendees will gain valuable experience through dozens of workshops,” said Janie Maxwell, Illinois Farmers Markets Association executive director. “Sharing experiences and lessons learned while building those crucial connections are really what make this conference so valuable.”

About Illinois Farm Bureau: The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 364,452 and a farmer membership of 75,959. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers. Learn more about Illinois agriculture at Connect with Illinois Farm Bureau on Facebook: Illinois Farm Bureau | Facebook. Follow IFB on Instagram @ilfarmburea or on X @ILFarmBurea.

About Illinois Specialty Growers Association: The purpose of Illinois Specialty Growers Association (ISGA) is the promotion and development of the Illinois specialty crop industry. ISGA was formed in 1989 to improve the coordination and cooperation among our individual associations. ISGA is an umbrella organization for the following affiliated associations: Illinois Herb Association, Illinois Irrigation Association, Illinois State Horticultural Society and Illinois Vegetable Growers Association.

About Illinois Farmers Market Association: The Illinois Farmers Market Association was founded in 2012 to connect the growing number of Illinois farmers markets, market managers, producers, and consumers and provide coordinated resources, advocacy, technical services, and training to ensure the continued vibrancy and sustainability of Illinois Farmers Markets. Additionally, ILFMA partners with local, state, regional, and national organizations in educating market managers, producers, and the general public on economic, health, and social benefits of providing, promoting, and expanding access for the increased consumption of fresh, local farm products at farmers markets statewide.

Sierra Henry, Media Relations Specialist, Illinois Farm Bureau® (309-557-2083;