LFS Executive Summary – Illinois

The purpose of Illinois project is to increase and/or expand purchases of local unprocessed products for schools to serve as a part of their federal school meal programs. The Illinois State of Board of Education (ISBE) plans to make the funds available directly to all schools currently in the National School Lunch Program, in an effort to allow for local control of utilization of these funds for allowable purchases. It is anticipated that fruits, vegetables and milk will continue to be a popular choice for these funds, however, with technical assistance we hope to expand schools utilization of local to include products such as meat, eggs and grains.  These purchases of local unprocessed products will target small businesses and socially disadvantaged farmers and producers. ISBE will work with collaborators, including the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Department of Human Services, to determine if there are any additional purchasing methods, that would be beneficial or would streamline the purchasing of allowable products for our schools. Anticipated outcomes include an increased access and utilization of local unprocessed products that will improve supply chain resiliency, increase continued use of local farmers/producers, increase distribution options and build partnerships with small businesses and socially disadvantaged farmers/producers that will continue after the program concludes.