The Local Flavors Farm-to-Table Restaurant Series is putting more locally grown food on lunch and dinner plates across central Illinois. The series gives consumers an opportunity to dine out at their favorite restaurants while also supporting locally grown food, sustainable farming, and small family farmers.
The Local Flavors series, a project of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, brings together restaurant owners and local farmers to provide monthly lunch and dinner events to the public. Chefs from participating restaurants create a special dish (or several) highlighting seasonal produce and proteins sourced directly from central Illinois farmers. These Local Flavors specials are available in addition to the restaurant’s regular menu for the day. Customers can stop by any participating restaurant on their scheduled date during their regular business hours to order the Local Flavors special and get a taste of the flavors of Illinois.
The series is held in four cities across central Illinois: Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and Peoria. The first Local Flavors event will begin on June 18th at Medici in Normal, and from there the series will rotate to a different restaurant every first and third Thursday of each month, June through October.
The event is designed to grow a market for Illinois’ small farms and specialty crop producers and to cultivate relationships between local farmers and chefs, as well as to raise awareness about how buying locally not only means getting produce at peak flavor and freshness, but also has a major impact on shaping our food systems at large. With Illinois importing 95% of its food from outside of state borders according to the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Report, just a small shift in local food sales by consumers, restaurants, and retailers, could mean big changes in how food is raised and have great benefits to the Illinois economy.
“Buying locally is about supporting what you value,” says Molly Gleason, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Outreach Coordinator, “The Local Flavors series gives people a chance to come out and show their support for local farmers and local restaurants and show that they value their community and knowing where their food comes from.”
Dates and Locations for Local Flavors events in Bloomington-Normal:
June18th: Dinner at Medici
July 2nd: Dinner at Baxter’s American Grille
July 16th: Lunch at Anju Above
August 6th: Lunch at BraiZe Food and Restauarant
August 20th: Dinner at The Tavern, Park Regency Hotel and Conference Center
September 3rd: Lunch at Kelly's Bakery and Cafe
September 17th: Dinner at Epiphany Farms Restaurant
October 1st: Lunch at Biaggis Ristorante Italiano
October 15th: Dinner at Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works
The Local Flavors Farm-to-Table Series is brought to you by Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) in partnership with the Downtown Bloomington Association,Heartland Green Institute, and the Ecology Action Center. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a 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. ISA is also host of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois chapter which connects citizens to central Illinois’ freshest locally grown and produced food.