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State Council Pushes To Increase Local Food Production

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Wicker Park Farmers Market

The Wicker Park Farmers Market. (Credit: City Of Chicago)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Here’s some food for thought – nearly all food eaten in Illinois was grown somewhere else.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports, a state council warns that could have dire consequences.

Johari Cole, co-director of the Local Food Farms and Jobs council, says her group’s mission is to ensure 20 percent of all food consumed in the state is grown locally by the year 2020. Right now, only 0.2 percent of what you find in Illinois stores is grown here.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Alex Degman reports


“If there were a truck embargo tomorrow because of high gas [prices], and our truckers decided to go on strike because of diesel prices [and] they can’t afford to drive,” Cole said. “Just think – 99.8 percent of your food is imported in through those trucks.”

The council is looking at a variety of programs to help more products stay in the state.

For example, the Department of Corrections is testing a program that would hire released inmates to grow and market fresh produce, particularly in so-called “food deserts” in inner city areas.

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