Planning includes link to campus research, conducting surveys, assessing economic opportunities, and defining approaches to local foods initiatives.

Currently 2.11% (270,353 individuals) of all Illinoisans live in food deserts, which are defined as ”areas of low income and low access to food.“ Approximately 21% (2,623,067 individuals) of all Illinoisans have low access to food, which even though lower than the national average (24%), is significant. It means, ”One in every five persons in Illinois has low access to food.“ –Illinois Data Trends 2016(University of Illinois Extension)

Illinois Extension Local Foods Map

Local Food Systems and Small Farms

Extension and Local Food Systems — Rural Business Development, such as value-added foods production (dairies that produce gourmet cheeses, organic milk, for example) are based on local food production and increase jobs and tourism in rural areas in Illinois. Learn more on programs such as