KANKAKEE — Farmers wanting to meet regional fresh produce buyers are invited to attend a Meet the Buyers event scheduled for Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kankakee Community College, Kankakee. Buyers will be in attendance to provide an overview of their organization and their procurement needs. Farmers will have the opportunity to meet with buyers one-on-one. The day will be kicked off by James Theuri, University of Illinois-Extension, presenting introductory information about two programs, MarketReady and Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs). “Market Ready” is a program designed to teach best commercial business practices between growers and various retail markets. “GAPs are a set of recommendations that can help improve the quality and safety of the produce grown,” added James Theuri, Extension educator for local food systems and small farms.
The hosts of the event include Kankakee County Farm Bureau and surrounding county Farm Bureaus, U of I Extension, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois Specialty Growers Association. Planned participants will include grocery retailers, foodservice distributors, restaurant chef and an organization that prepares menu items for schools.
The event is open to farmers from throughout Illinois. Farmers may attend at no cost but need to register by Jan. 25. To register, call the Kankakee County Farm Bureau at 815-932-7471.