If you’ve ever driven across Illinois, you know that the state is packed with farms. Though much of Illinois’ land is covered in corn and soybeans, it also produces an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables – primarily sold at farmers’ markets, and there may be one close to you.

Illinois has the third largest concentration of farmers’ markets in the United States. As an agricultural powerhouse, our state provides many opportunities for those in large- and small-scale agriculture to sell their goods and help provide consumers with the choices they demand.

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Spring has sprung in IllinoisOne of the joys of living in Illinois is the exceptional growing conditions for lawns, gardens and commodities. The great soil, moderate temperatures and adequate water resources of our state have made Illinois a great place to grow the fruits and vegetables we all enjoy. With the gradual rise in temperatures, homeowners and gardening enthusiasts are starting to get outdoors and prepare their lawns and gardens for the upcoming summer.

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Morels in Illinois

Spring has come to Illinois, and with it the seasonal rebirth of the natural landscape around us. As the forest floor springs to life, many people take to the timber in search of one of our most delicious natural edibles, the morel mushroom. When you have the right tools to find them, the search can be an exciting and rewarding day spent outdoors with your family and friends.

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Bison to return to Prairie State

It’s been a long time since the buffalo roamed the plains of Illinois, but soon a small new herd could graze the fields south of Chicago now that an experimental project has been approved.

The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, a 19,000-acre prairie maintained by the National Forest Service, has received final approval to conduct an experiment that would allow about two dozen bison of mixed ages to graze the restored land.

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If you like to eat, you should like Illinois

More food passes through the Prairie State than any other state in the nation, according to a new study published by University of Illinois Professor Megan Konar. She contends that Illinois is the most critical hub in US domestic food transportation.

Nearly 20 percent of the food Americans eat moves through Illinois – more than 70 million tons per year. That’s enough to keep everyone who lives in the state eating for five and a half years.

As the Food and Agricultural Roadmap for Illinois partnership points out, Illinois has many unique competitive advantages that have turned it into one of the world’s major food hubs. Its fertile soil means it is one of the top states in corn and soybean production every year, and it is the world’s largest producer of several specialty crops.

The state also ranks first in food processing sales and is home to CME – the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace.

Another key factor in Illinois’ position as a global food hub is its access to extensive transportation networks, including more than 1,400 miles of navigable waterways, the world’s busiest airport, more than 2,000 miles of interstate highway and every Class 1 railroad that operates in the United States. The partnership is working on a plan to help make sure Illinois holds onto this important economic position in the 21st century.