The FARM Illinois initiative, which rolled out on June 10, has now outlined a strategy for maintaining the foundation of the state’s food and agriculture system.
Established in 2014, the Food and Agriculture RoadMap hopes to enable Illinois to become a leading hub for food and agriculture innovation. FARM Illinois is geared toward encouraging the state’s leadership in sustainability to meet 21st century food security challenges.
"Historically, Illinois has long been a leader in food and agriculture,” states the FARM Illinois website. “However, the state cannot rest on its impressive laurels. The evolution in the global food and agriculture system will require coordinated leadership to foster new understanding, new approaches, and new cooperation if Illinois is to not only remain competitive but also seize the reins and lead that change."
The Chicago metropolitan area, which has more than 9 million consumers, has become a market driver in terms of innovation surrounding resilient food systems. The food and agriculture industry accounts for 9.6 percent of the state’s total economic output.
In addition to outlining recommendations for health, jobs and economics in terms of agriculture, the FARM Illinois plan is directed toward utilizing new technologies. Its other goals include preserving the environment and helping the community adapt to a changing climate. Robert Easter, the president emeritus of the University of Illinois, leads the Leadership Council of FARM Illinois.