June 12, 2024

New ‘Everything Local’ conference seeks to strengthen food supply chains

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Focused on delivering an unprecedented opportunity to bolster local food and specialty crops supply chains, three member organizations have teamed up to create the From Food to Flowers: Everything Local conference.

The event, the largest in the state focused on local food and specialty crop production, is the result of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois Farmers Market Association coming together to give their members an opportunity to learn, connect and build relationships.

“We have developed such great relationships throughout the supply chain and among our member organizations, it made sense to incorporate that into our conference,” said Raghela Scavuzzo, Illinois Farm Bureau local foods program manager.

“This conference truly will be the center of our state local food and specialty crop sectors for these three days.”

The hybrid event will take place Jan. 11-13, in person at the Springfield Crowne Plaza and virtually through an online conference portal.

Visit www.specialtygrowers.org/everythinglocal for more information and to register.

The new conference combines the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference and Live Local: Local Food and Farmers Market Conference.

It will feature five keynote speakers and panels and more than 100 speakers for breakout sessions and workshops on specialty crop production, farmers market management, community food development, business development, funding and financing, and more.

“There really is something for everyone at this conference,” said Randy Graham, Illinois Specialty Growers Association chairman.

“Now all under one roof and in a smaller time commitment, the new conference will offer the same volume of information that used to require attending multiple conferences. It’s a much more efficient way for our members to get the resources they need to be successful.”

Other highlights taking place will be the Illinois Apple Cider Contest, the three hosting organizations’ annual meetings, awards, a trade show with more than 65 vendors and plenty of networking opportunities.

“The merged conference allows for better interactions from people throughout the supply chain, representing everyone from farm to fork,” said Janie Maxwell, Illinois Farmers Market Association executive director.

“Attendees will enjoy opportunities to network with people from other parts of the industry while still getting relevant information that matters to them.”