Local Purchasing Opportunities

Supporting Local Farmers as We Provide Fresh Food to Underserved Communities in Illinois



A cooperative agreement between the USDA and states to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic areas and that meet the needs of the population. The USDA established the Local Food Purchasing Assistance program to strengthen statewide food systems over two years. Funds will buy food from socially disadvantaged growers/producers and distribute it at no cost to community members.

The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement (IL-EATS) will allow the State of Illinois to purchase food directly from socially disadvantaged farmers at fair market value. Food will then be distributed by providers, including food banks, farming collaboratives, and other non-profits, to communities in need at no cost. This includes schools, churches, and non-profit organizations. The funds originated through two cooperative agreements with the United States Department of Agriculture.



To sell your products through IL-EATS, you must be a socially disadvantaged grower or producer located in Illinois. Socially disadvantaged growers/producers that fall within one of these categories are eligible to participate:

  • Veteran
  • Female business owner
  • Greater than 50 miles (or 30 minutes) to nearest distribution point (farmers market or market opportunity). The distribution point must sell your type of product.
  • Qualify for benefits based on income (low socioeconomic status)
  • Person with disabilities
  • New farmer/rancher (USDA definition is under 10 years)
  • Business is located in one of the following high-vulnerability counties (as determined by the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index): Champaign, Coles, Cook, Douglas, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Macon, Marion, Massac, Morgan, Peoria, Perry, Pulaski, Rock Island, Saline, St. Clair, Stephenson, Union, Vermilion, Warren, Wayne, Winnebago

Click Here for a Full List of Eligible Candidates



If you want to sell your products to this program, you MUST partner with a lead agency (listed below). If you have the capacity, you can partner with multiple lead agencies. You can partner with a lead agency at any point throughout the award, ending September 2025. Lead agencies will purchase products from farmers at fair market value.


Products must be on the Illinois Local Food Purchasing Allowable Foods List and be grown or produced within Illinois. 


Click Here for Allowable Foods


If processors would like to be involved, they also need to include the farmers they are purchasing from. The farmer must meet the criteria for socially disadvantaged producers. Processors can be part of the development, but the farmers must also be involved upfront and are the ones to meet the criteria.


The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Illinois Extension Food is a great resource for additional information:  Illinois Equitable Access Towards Sustainable Systems (IL-EATS), funded by LFPA | Illinois Extension | UIUC 

Using the above link, you can sign-up for updates about this program.



Your Illinois State contact for this program is Troy Wetter at troy.wetter@illinois.gov

The USDA Public Affairs/Outreach Specialist for Illinois is Mary Kirby at mary.kirby@il.usda.gov or 217-241-6600.



Northwest Illinois

Farmers Rising (formerly Angelic Organics Learning Center)

Farmers Rising builds sustainable local food and farm systems through experiential education and training programs in partnership with rural and urban people. Open to partnerships up to 1 ½ hours from Rockford, Illinois.

1545 Rockton Rd, Caledonia, IL 61011
Phone: 360-649-0650 | Email: allyson.r@farmersrising.org


Jo Daviess Local Foods

We operate an online farmers' market and a Farm to Food Pantry Program in Jo Daviess County, with additional pickup locations in Stephenson and Carroll Counties.

Elizabeth, IL 61028
Phone: 815-990-5374 | Email: erin@jdlf.org


Northern Illinois Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank is a food bank that serves 13 counties in Northern Illinois. Open to partnerships up to 2 hours from location.

273 Dearborn Ct, Geneva, IL 60134
Phone: 630-443-6910 | Email: serruto@northernilfoodbank.org


Northeast Illinois

DeKalb County Community Gardens

DeKalb County Community Gardens (DCCG) empowers people to access healthy and sustainably grown foods and addresses the root causes of hunger. Open to partnerships up 1-2 hours from location.

2280 Bethany Rd. DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-739-0044  Email: hedwards@dekalbgardens.org 


Cook County

Black Oaks Center

The mission of Black Oaks Center is to facilitate local food system development from Pembroke to Chicago. Open to partnerships up to 2 ½ hours from location.

6735 S South Chicago Ave
Phone: 773-410-3446  Email: blackoakscenter@gmail.com


In His Hands Resource Center Inc.

The mission of In His Hands Resource Center is to facilitate and sustain human and economic viability in underserved communities and act as a common navigator for small businesses. Open to partnerships up to 2 ½ hours from location.

1200 Ring Rd. Suite 2374, Calumet City, IL 60409
Phone: 312-768-3871 | Email: ihh.nfp@gmail.com


West Central Illinois

Midwest Food Bank

As a faith-based organization, Midwest Food Bank’s mission is to share the love of Christ by alleviating hunger and malnutrition locally and throughout the world and providing disaster relief, all without discrimination. Open to partnerships up to 2 ½ hours from location.

9005 N. Industrial Rd. Peoria, IL 61615
Phone: 309-691-5270 | Email: mhatfield@midwestfoodbank.org


Think Regeneration NFP

Think Regeneration

501c(3) supporting farmers and ranchers to create a more equitable, regenerative food supply. Think Regeneration has reached its maximum capacity of partners at this time. 


East Central Illinois

Midwest Food Bank - Bloomington Normal

As a faith-based organization, Midwest Food Bank’s mission is to share the love of Christ by alleviating hunger and malnutrition locally and throughout the world and providing disaster relief, all without discrimination. Open to partnerships up to 2 ½ hours from location.

2031 Warehouse Road, Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-663-5350 x113 | Email: abeam@midwestfoodbank.org


Northeast Community Fund

839 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Decatur, IL 62521
Phone: 217-429-5846 | Email:


Southern Illinois

Operation Food Search

With a strategic focus on ending childhood hunger, Operation Food Search (OFS) empowers families and increases access to healthy and affordable food in 40 Missouri and Illinois counties. It approaches food insecurity from an “upstream” perspective by addressing immediate need through 168 community food distribution partners, shopping/cooking/nutrition education, and food as medicine/advocacy work to foster systemic, sustainable solutions. Open to partnerships up to 1 hour from location.

1644 Lotsie Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: 314-726-5355 | Email: ashley.snyder@operationfoodsearch.org or christine.krueger@operationfoodsearch.org


Tri-State Food Bank, Inc.

A member of the Feeding America network of food banks, Tri-State Food Bank collects and disburses food to partner agencies and feeding programs assisting food-insecure families. Open to partnerships up to 1 ½ hours from location.

2504 Lynch Road, Evansville, IN 4772
Phone: 812-303-3558 | Email: glennroberts@tristatefoodbank.org


If producers would like to collaborate with any of the above organizations listed, you are encouraged to contact them directly.

Producers will work directly with the lead agencies (producers can work with more than one lead agency) to sell their product at fair market value as long as they meet all eligibility requirements.


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