Local farm and food businesses looking to spice up their online presence can now connect with thousands of new customers through Live Local, Shop Local’s online directory. Live Local, Shop Local, is an Illinois Farm Bureau program aimed at connecting communities with local food and agriculture.
The directory, powered by MarketMaker and hosted by the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, allows customers to easily search for farms and businesses based on the products they are looking for. It’s also just one resource offered through the Live Local, Shop Local program.
“People love the online directory because they can find farms and markets that sell fresh, local ingredients and offer family-friendly activities,” said Raghela Scavuzzo, IFB Associate Director of Food Systems Development. “Illinois farmers also enjoy it because the virtual platform connects people in their communities with what these growers are passionate about: producing food that’s flavorful and nutritious.”
Shoppers can 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 other experiences.
Local farm and food businesses can create their Illinois MarketMaker profiles at foodmarketmaker.com. Registered users can add an e-commerce option or link to an existing store, check out the Buy/Sell Forum for product listings and advertising and add business affiliations to be seen across multiple networks.
As an added bonus 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 Illinois Farm Bureau Abenity Membership App.
Business owners can access their account and revise their data anytime throughout the year through the foodmarketmaker.com website. It is recommended that businesses update their profiles ahead of and during busy shopping seasons, such as the summer and fall farmers market seasons.
“This is a new way to promote Illinois Farm Bureau members and local food through county Farm Bureaus and our membership app, Abenity,” said Scavuzzo. “We are excited that counties throughout the state can offer this convenient resource to families during the busy summer market season.”
Start exploring the more than 1,800 Illinois farms and businesses featured in the online directory at specialtygrowers.org/shoplocal.