SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to bring more Illinois food to our shelves, State Senator Dave Koehler is leading an initiative to create the Local Food Infrastructure Grant Act.

“This is an opportunity to not only support our farmers, but feed families and strengthen the state’s economy as well,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “Providing farm-to-table food to grocers allows local businesses to flourish while supplying families with fresh produce grown right in the heart of their community.”

Senate Bill 3077 would create the Local Food Infrastructure Grant Act. This measure would require the Illinois Department of Agriculture to amplify local food processing, collection and distribution within the state through grants. Eligible applicants would include farms, co-ops, process facilities, food businesses and hubs with fewer than 50 employees, as well as Illinois nonprofit organizations and local governments.

Koehler’s bill creates a two-tiered grant system for both individual and collaborative projects. Individual projects may receive grants between $1,000 and $75,000, where collaborative projects may be awarded $1,000 up to $250,000. These grants may be used toward production, grading and packaging equipment, as well as refrigerated trucks, milling equipment, local fish processing and milk processing.

According to the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, a 10% shift in the average grocery budget toward local food purchasing could generate billions in economic growth for the state. By incentivizing the expansion and collaboration of local food providers, Senate Bill 3077 will reinforce Illinois’ food industry, grow local economies and provide access to locally sourced food to residents across the state.

“This program is a strategic investment in ourselves,” said Koehler. “By putting our money where our home is, we are ensuring prosperity for our communities.”

Senate Bill 3077 passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.