Lt. Gov. Simon praises increased local food access Print
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Justin Stofferahn   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 15:00
SPRINGFIELD – During an address to Downtown Springfield, Inc. on Wednesday evening, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, an advocate for a fresh food economy, will release figures showing more low-income Illinoisans are choosing to purchase healthy, locally produced foods at Illinois farmers markets.

The amount of food stamp benefits known as LINK redeemed at Illinois farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers increased by nearly 69 percent between 2011 and 2010, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sales in federal fiscal year 2011 totaled $69,320, up from $41,146 in 2010 and $11,146 in 2009. (The federal fiscal year is October 1-September 30.)

Simon attributes the increase, in part, to better access. Currently 49 markets and direct marketing farmers in 20 counties are certified to accept LINK, which is up from 35 in 2010 and 15 in 2009. The only constitutional officer from Southern Illinois, Simon chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, which is focused on expanding access to local foods.

Simon will detail the numbers at the Downtown Springfield, Inc. annual awards dinner. Downtown Springfield, Inc. is a non-profit that works to preserve, promote, and enhance Springfield’s historic central business district, and runs the Old Capitol Farmers Market.

EVENT: Downtown Springfield, Inc. annual awards dinner

TIME: 7 p.m.

PLACE: Hilton Hotel, 700 East Adams Street, Springfield

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