Call to invest in a Farm to Food Bank program among proposals that would address food insecurity and its root causes in Illinois
On February 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker outlined his proposed budget during the annual State of the State address. The Greater Chicago Food Depository was encouraged that the governor’s budget calls for an expansion of solutions to address poverty and food insecurity. One of many points we applaud is Gov. Pritzker’s proposal to invest an additional $2 million to purchase nutritious food from Illinois farmers that will be distributed to families facing hunger throughout the state.
The Food Depository and other food banks have long advocated for Illinois to implement a state-funded Farm to Food Bank program. Similar programs have proven successful in other states to increase the supply of locally grown specialty crops and agricultural food products for hunger relief programs. In some states, food banks and farmers have collaborated to identify and grow crops that meet the dietary and cultural needs of households at risk of hunger. These programs also have potential to reduce food waste and carbon emissions.
A Farm to Food Bank program would be a shared victory for Illinois farmers and hunger relief efforts statewide. Gov. Pritzker’s call for this investment comes at a time when food insecurity is elevated across Illinois due to inflation and increased grocery prices and at a time when food banks are struggling to source food because of higher costs.
As the Pritzker administration and the Illinois legislature work towards a state budget, the Food Depository will continue advocating for a Farm to Food Bank program to become reality. We are immensely grateful for our advocacy network and everyone who raises their voice to support food equity and end hunger.