Springfield - Now finding local farm-fresh food is easier than ever with the debut of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois website. The website contains an interactive map and online directory of nearly 140 farms, restaurants, retailers, markets, and other businesses where consumers can purchase local food throughout central Illinois.

The website can be found at: www.buyfreshbuylocalcentralillinois.org

The Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois Chapter, a campaign of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, was created in 2006 with the intent of strengthening the local food movement, increasing consumer access to nutritious local food, and supporting local farmers with a commitment to raising products in a sustainable, environmentally, and morally conscientious manner.

Since its inception, the campaign has worked towards those ends and is responsible for organizing such events as the Local Flavors Farm-to-Table Series and Chef-Farmer Mixers, as well as creating local food directories that are distributed across central Illinois. Now in its 8th year, the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois campaign hopes to reach an even larger audience with the creation of their new website and to give Central Illinois consumers a tool that will help make sourcing locally both simple and convenient.

“We believe it’s very important for people to know their farmer, to know how their food is grown, and to have a connection with their food. This website gives us a platform for bringing the pictures, faces, and stories of Central Illinois farmers to life and gives people a chance to make those connections,” says Molly Gleason, Outreach Coordinator for Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

Apart from an interactive map and directory, visitors to the website can also expect to find featured farmer stories, a news blog, a calendar of upcoming events, recipes, a seasonal buying guide, and e-newsletters.

The Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois chapter is part of a national network of Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters. It is organized and operated by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, a statewide 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.