Illinois Farmer Market Prices Being Surveyed
The University of Illinois Extension Service is now regularly surveying prices at farmers markets around the state.
According to The News-Gazette in Champaign, the surveys of 11 farmers markets around Illinois are being conducted as part of a three-state effort that includes Kentucky and Tennessee. The weekly price surveys are being published on the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification's website.
The idea is to give produce farmers an idea of what prices look like across the region.
Extension educator Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant said the price data should help farmers set prices at competitive levels.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the University of Illinois Extension. The extension began in 1914 when Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act that established extension services at the nation’s land-grant universities.
A big part of the Extension’s focus has been on agricultural outreach and support. There were also extension programs on home economics and food preservation that were designed to help rural families. However, the U of I Extension has shifted its focus over the last century to meet the needs of a diverse population.
Illinois Public Media’s Sean Powers recently talked about some of those changes with U of I Extension Director George Czapar.
Restrictions on the sale of baked goods at Urbana's Market at the Square have prompted an area lawmaker to find ways of relaxing or modifying a state law.
Danville Republican Bill Black wants to start up a task force to find out what prompted a 10-year old measure that requires those cookies and pies to be prepared in commercial kitchens. It was recently enforced in Urbana for the first time, driving away some vendors. But Black contends the enforcement of the measure is 'spotty' at best:
"The opening day of the farmer's market in Danville there were home-baked goods," says Black. "I asked somebody if this was done in a commercial kitchen. And he said 'yeah, my kitchen.' So just thirty miles apart there was some confusion."
But Kolby Riggle, Director of Environmental Health with Vermilion County's Health Department, contends the law has always been enforced there. Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde says she doesn't have an opinion as to whether the measure is necessary, but says it will continue to be enforced locally. Black suggests that changes to the law could be as simple as placing a label on a baked good - advising that it was homemade. His task force would consist of legislators, local public health professionals, officials with the Department of Agriculture, and members of the public who sell at farmer's markets. Black hopes to begin meetings by fall, with hopes of completing a report by the end of the year.