The Illinois Farm Bureau again this year will host the Live Local Food Conference, Nov. 6-7 at the DoubleTree Hilton in Bloomington. The local and regional food conference, which aims to help farmers growing and marketing local produce expand their businesses, will feature two days of training, workshops, speakers, and tours of local farms.

“This year, we’ve revamped the conference to include an additional day and additional opportunities for farmers to network and grow their operations,†said Raghela Scavuzzo, local foods program manager, Illinois Farm Bureau. “One of the most exciting features of this year’s conference is the Food Safety Modernization Certification. The training, which is required of farmers selling produce, will satisfy one of the requirements for the produce rule with the Food Safety Modernization Act.â€

New this year, attendees will have the opportunity to attend a full-day workshop Nov. 6, choosing from sessions about the Produce Safety Training, farm business planning, developing and building a cooperative, food hubs, and a local value chain tour, featuring central Illinois farms and businesses.

The traditional local and regional foods conference will take place Nov. 7, featuring speakers including Jim Barham, agriculture economist with USDA Rural Development in Washington, D.C., and Jim Matson, who owns Matson Consulting. Additional breakout sessions include:

  • Marketing and promotion
  • Funding and financing
  • Market opportunities
  • Business tools and technology

Early bird registration for the two-day conference is open now through Oct. 13; registration prices increase after Oct. 13. For more information about the conference, or to register, visit or call Raghela Scavuzzo, local foods program manager, Illinois Farm Bureau, at 309-557-2155 or