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Local Flavors Series returns for second summer

The City of Urbana has partnered with several local restaurants for a second summer for the Local Flavors series. 

Here’s the press release:

Farm to Table Events Raise Awareness for Local Food

The Local Flavors farm-to-table series is putting locally grown food on lunch and dinner plates in restaurants across central Illinois. In 2015, the National Restaurant Association listed locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, and environmental sustainability as the top 3 food trends for the year respectively, the Local Flavors Farm-to-Table series, now in its 8th season, has been ahead of the trend. The series gives consumers an opportunity to dine out at their favorite restaurants while also supporting local businesses, sustainable farming, and locally grown products.

The Local Flavors series, a program of Illinois Stewardship Alliance and local partners including Urbana’s Market at the Square, brings together restaurant owners and central Illinois farmers to provide monthly lunch and dinner events to the public. Chefs from participating restaurants create a special dish (or several) highlighting seasonal produce and proteins sourced directly from central Illinois farmers. These Local Flavors specials are available in addition to the restaurant’s regular menu for the day. Customers can stop by any participating restaurant on their scheduled date during their regular business hours to order the Local Flavors special.

The series is held in four cities across central Illinois: Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and Peoria.  Dates and Locations for Local Flavors events in Champaign-Urbana include:

June 18:  Dinner at Hudson Farms (hosted by Piato)
July 2: Dinner at Milo’s Restaurant
July 16: Dinner at Hendrick House
August 6: Dinner at Escobar’s Restaurant
August 20: Dinner at Big Grove Tavern
September 3:  Dinner at Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works
September 17: Lunch at Common Ground Food Co-op
October 1: Dinner at Timpone’s Restaurant
October 15: Dinner at Bacaro

The event is designed to grow a market for Illinois’ small farms and specialty crop producers and to cultivate relationships between local farmers and chefs, as well as to raise awareness about how buying locally not only means getting produce at peak flavor and freshness, but also has a major impact on shaping our food systems at large. And with Illinois importing 95% of its food from outside of state borders according to the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Report, just a small shift in local food sales by consumers, restaurants, and retailers, would have great benefits to the Illinois economy.

“Buying locally is about supporting what you value,” says Molly Gleason, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Outreach Coordinator, “The Local Flavors series gives people a chance to come out and show their support for local farmers and local restaurants and show that they value their community and how their food is raised.”

“Urbana’s Market at the Square is committed to promoting local food and encourages our patrons to support these restaurants as they serve food sourced by our local farmers and vendors,” commented Market at the Square Director Natalie Kenny Marquez. “It’s an easy way to eat local and support local businesses.”

Reservations are encouraged and can be made by contacting participating restaurants directly. The full schedule of events in all four cities can be viewed on the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website. Menus can be found on the Buy Fresh Buy Local Facebook page up to two weeks before each event, or in the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois newsletter. Interested parties can sign up for the newsletter on the website.

The Local Flavors Farm-to-Table Series is brought to you by Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) in partnership with the Land Connection and Urbana’s Market at the Square. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a non-profit organization that promotes local food and farm systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just through policy development, advocacy and education. ISA is also host of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois chapter which connects citizens to central Illinois’ freshest locally grown and produced food.

For information about the Illinois Stewardship Alliance please contact Lindsay Record, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Program Director, (217) 206-5750 or by email at or Molly Gleason, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Outreach Coordinator, (217) 871-9041 or by email at

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