Sustainable Food Systems Resources

Oct 1, 2013

Local Food Resources

CMAP has created a variety of tools and resources to help local governments, businesses, and residents support and strengthen local food systems. The GO TO 2040 plan served as the basis for much of the research cited throughout this microsite, and relevant legislation can shed light on current trends and initiatives. There are some great examples of partnerships coming together to support sustainable local food systems here in the region, with more to come in the future through CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program.


Municipal Strategies to Support Local Food: In September 2012, CMAP created a two-part guide to help local governments incorporate local food in their comprehensive plans and ordinances.

Educational brochure: CMAP created a short, educational local food brochure that summarizes many of the points made on this microsite. This brochure be printed and distributed as an educational outreach tool for those interested in supporting local food systems. An additional document provides references for the statistics cited in the brochure. (Note: To download PDF, right-click on link and select "save link as.")

Local Food Video: We encourage you to share the local food video featured on this microsite. The video can be distributed by sharing a link to If you would like to show the video at a community meeting, request a copy on DVD by contacting Hillary Green ( The video can be embedded on your own website or blog using the following code:


Local Food Presentation: If you would like CMAP to give a presentation to your Village Board, City Council, or community group on actions that can be taken to support local food systems, contact Jason Navota (312-386-8750 or


GO TO 2040: The GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan includes a section "Promoting Sustainable Local Food," which provides a wealth of information and targeted strategies for supporting local food systems. The section is summarized at and can be downloaded in full at

Federal Farm Bill: The Agricultural Act of 2014, often referred to as "The Farm Bill," was passed by Congress and signed into law in February 2014.  Learn more about this five-year federal agriculture legislation on-line. 

State Legislation: The 2009 Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act (Public Act 96-0579) sets procurement goals for the purchase of local food by state and state-funded agencies, and it also created the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council to help facilitate the growth of an Illinois-based local farm and food product economy. Other relevant state legislation includes:

  • Public Act 96-0418, which amends the Environmental Protect Act to redefine composting.
  • Public Act 96-0620, which prevents health departments from discouraging the purchase or consumption of locally grown foods.
  • The Farm Fresh Schools Program Act, which is designed to reduce obesity, improve nutrition and public health, and strengthen local food production in part through offering locally grown fruits and vegetables in schools.
  • Public Act 97-0393, which establishes definitions for "cottage food operation" and "potentially hazardous food."
  • Public Act 97-0394, which created the Farmers' Market Task Force to assist in enacting administrative regulations for farmers' markets across the state.

Illinois Fresh Food Fund: In July 2012, Illinois launched a Fresh Food Fund to increase the availability of fresh food in communities and neighborhoods, which is recommended by GO TO 2040 to spur private investment in supermarkets and grocery stores in underserved areas. IFF, a nonprofit community development financial institution, is overseeing the lending program, which includes loan and grant products. Read more at WBEZ.

Openlands Farmland Protection: Local nonprofit Openlands offers a wealth of resources and education tools through its Farmland Protection initiative.

Examples in the Region

GO TO 2040 Case Studies Library: CMAP collects examples of work from around the seven-county region to exemplify the goals and objectives of GO TO 2040, including projects relating to local food. The Case Studies Library is an interactive map and profiles Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks, as well as pilot program for farmer's markets to accept Link cards. Submit your own local food case study on-line.

Kane County: CMAP, Kane County, and other partners created an evaluation framework to explore the potential for conversion of publicly owned land to local food production.  Learn more about this LTA project and its final deliverables at

Lake County: Through its LTA program, CMAP has been working with a group of nonprofit, public, and private partners throughout Lake County to explore potential for a more sustainable food system in the county. Learn more at

Evanston: Evanston passed an ordinance in 2010 that allows residents to raise hens in their backyards as pets and for food.


Illinois: To help promote the purchase of locally grown produce, the Illinois Department of Agriculture launched a "Buy Illinois Challenge" campaign. Residents can pledge to spend $10 of their weekly grocery bill on Illinois products to help reinvest in the state's economy and create jobs. Schools and businesses can also participate. 

Midwest: The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago blog analyzed the growing popularity of farmers' markets and local foods in the Midwest.

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