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Voting Now Open For The  Illinois Favorite Farm-to-Table Restaurant Awards

Voting Now Open for the Illinois Favorite Farm-to-Table Restaurant Awards

Voting runs September 14-30, 2020 

Now more than ever farm-to-table restaurants need support. To help promote these restaurants that are going the extra mile to source from area farmers, the Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois coalition is launching the inaugural Favorite Farm-to-Table Awards, a two week campaign to help diners find farm-to-table restaurants in their area.

According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, 20% of all restaurants in Illinois will go out of business in the coming months because of COVID-19. These shutdowns have ripple effects across the food system. Farm-to-table restaurants in particular provide a critical market for many Illinois farmers. When the pandemic hit in March, farmer Marty Travis of Down at the Farm, LLC in Fairbury went from 30 restaurant accounts to just 3 overnight.  Some of these have since re-opened, but low sales and attendance make the commitment to source locally an extra challenge. 

The impact of the pandemic on farm-to-table restaurants in particular is hard to gauge as no official directory of farm-to-table restaurants exists in the state, but the Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois coalition is working to create one.

To highlight the farm-to-table restaurants currently featured in their online directory, the Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois coalition is presenting the inaugural Favorite Farm-to-Table Awards. The awards give diners the chance to peruse a list of farm-to-table restaurants across the state and show their favorite farm-to-table restaurants some love by casting a vote. In order to be considered as farm-to-table, the restaurant must source from at least one local farm that is also listed in the Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois directory. 

The restaurant receiving the most votes in their region will be crowned the winner of their region. Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois is made up 5 regions, including the following:

  • Central
  • Southern
  • Western
  • Northern
  • Chicago

Voting opens on September 14 and closes on September 30.

“Farm-to-table restaurants are critical to resilient communities. They strengthen local economies, they support area farms, and they help create local supply chains that enable communities to be self-sustaining. When the pandemic hit, all of a sudden farms who depended on restaurant sales didn’t have a market. That was hard for both farms and farm-to-table restaurants. Many restaurants are now back in action, but they’re not out of the woods yet. This campaign helps Illinois diners find and support farm-to-table restaurants in their area and we encourage everyone to not only cast a vote for your favorite– but take advantage of carry out, delivery, and outdoor dining services that these restaurants offer,” says Molly Gleason, BFBL Illinois Coalition Chairperson.

The chefs at Engrained Restaurant & Brewery in Springfield sharpen their knives. The competition will be stiff for the inaugural Favorite Farm-to-Table Awards

All voters will be entered for a chance to win dinner for two at any restaurant listed in the Buy Fresh Buy Local Online Directory. 

Only one ballot will be counted per email address. For official rules please click here.

A winner and runner up will be announced for each region. The winners will receive $5000 in marketing through Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois, including a badge for their restaurant to have on display, a feature on the Buy Fresh Buy Local website and social media, and a feature in the 2021 Buy Fresh Buy Local printed Local Food Guide!

The winners will be announced on Sunday, October 4th

To keep up with what’s new in local food from across the state, follow Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

For more information about Buy Fresh Buy Local Illinois, please contact

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