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Market at the Square and ISA bringing Chef-Farmer Mixer to Civic Center

This is a really cool idea coming from the ISA and Urbana’s Market at the Square. They’ve decided to set up workshops to help local farmers and local chefs come together and foster business relationships to promote the use of locally grown food. The mixer takes place Monday, March 9 at 3 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center.

From the release:

Chef-Farmer Mixers Help Grow Farm Businesses
For restaurants it can be easier to purchase produce grown half way around the world than to buy something from a local farmer in town.  Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) and Urbana’s Market at the Square want to change that. To help bring local farmers and chefs together, the ISA and Urbana’s Market at the Square will host a Chef-Farmer Mixer on Monday, March 9 from 3-6 p.m. at the Urbana Civic Center, 108 E. Water Street, Urbana, IL 61081.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend one of two specially designed workshops.

  • The MarketReady Training for Farmers, presented by University of Illinois Extension Small Farms and Local Food System Educators (LFSSF), will address the market development risks and relationships small farmers must manage as they seek to develop supplier relationships with restaurants, retailers, and wholesale buyers.
  • The Socially Responsible Chef with the Fiscally Responsible Bottom Line, presented by chef and national consultant Greg Christian of Beyond Green Partners, aims to educate food service providers on how to implement sustainable practices in order to maximize profits, including waste monitoring, cost-effective local sourcing, and menu creation strategies.

Additionally, a one-hour networking session will provide farmers and chefs with ample time to explore new partnerships and create one-on-one relationships.

Since most distribution companies don’t deliver locally grown produce, one-on-one relationships are a key factor in enabling local farmers to sell their products to area restaurants.   The Chef-Farmer Mixers are designed to bring local chefs and local farmers together for the purpose of creating new partnerships that will promote the use of locally grown food.

“The ultimate goal of the Chef-Farmer Mixers is to bring more local food to central Illinois” said Lindsay Record, Program Director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “We hope to create new markets for farmers, provide fresher produce for chefs, and increase access to local food for consumers.  We think this situation is a win-win-win.”

The event is free to attend for chefs, farmers and food service directors but registration is required. Participants can register online at or by calling (217) 528-1563.

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