For local farms and food businesses, online presence can be a scary thing. With Live Local, Shop Local, an Illinois Farm Bureau program, it’s becoming easier. Farmers can be connected with thousands of new customers through the Live Local, Shop Local online directory. The directory is powered by MarketMaker and hosted by the Illinois Specialty Growers Association. It allows customers to easily search for farms and businesses based on the products they are looking for.
Shoppers can also search through popular item categories including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, honey, flowers, and value-added products. Visitors can also search for agritourism experiences, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and more.
Local farm and food businesses can create a profile on foodmarketmaker.com and registered users can add an e-commerce option or link to an existing store. They can also check out a buy/sell forum and find product listings and advertising along with business affiliations on multiple networks.
For Illinois Farm Bureau members, online vendors who indicate an affiliation with the organization on their profiles will be featured on participating county Farm Bureau websites and in the Membership App. Business owners can access their account and revise their data anytime through the year through foodmarketmaker.com. The Farm Bureau recommends updating profiles ahead of busy shopping seasons, such as summer and fall farmers market seasons.
More than 1,800 Illinois farms and businesses featured in the online directory at specialtygrowers.org/shoplocal. For more information contact Raghela Scavuzzo, IFB Associate Director of Food Systems Development at Rscavuzzo@ilfb.org.