Written by Douglas Edwin   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00

For the third year in a row The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be having it’s 25 Days of Christmas Contest.

Each day from December 1st through the 25th one winner will be selected randomly from those who have signed up for the Buy Illinois Challenge. Each day has a different prize, all of which are Illinois made food products. 

The Buy Illinois Challenge was started this past summer as a way to encourage people to buy more products made in state. Individuals, schools, and organizations can sign the Buy Illinois Challenge pledge through its’ website. Jennifer Tirey, Bureau Chief of Marketing and Promotions at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, explained what the challenge is. 

“There are 47 million households in Illinois, and we are asking every household to dedicate $10 of their current weekly grocery store budget to buying Illinois made products.” Tirey explained. “If every household does that, we can generate 2.4 billion dollars per year.”

The push to get people to buy more Illinois made products is meant to help grow and sustain local economies and small businesses around the state. 

“Not only are you helping spur the economy, many times your helping your local small businesses and local companies thrive and continue to grow.” Tirey explained. “Which, in turn, keeps your dollars locally. The more you spend locally, the more money stays in the community.”

The challenge is meant not to make people buy more, but buy differently. 

“We’re just trying to get people to make a shift.” Tirey explained. “We’re not asking people to spend any extra money. If there’s a barbecue sauce made in Illinois versus one made in another state, why not buy the Illinois made product.”

To make it easier for people to take part in the challenge, and help support local products, the Illinois department of agriculture is working with grocery stores around the state. 

“We’re working with the grocery stores to try to get them to step up their labeling so consumers don’t have to check the fine print to see where the products were made.” Tirey explained. “We oversee the Illinois products logo program, which is a logo that helps identify products made in Illinois, and we’re tying to get more companies to put the logo on their products so that consumers can easily find them and tell they’re Illinois made.”

To be a part of the contest all you have to do is go to the Buy Illinois Challenge website at www.agr.state.il.us/marketing/ilprod/ and take the $10 Illinois Product Pledge. All that is needed to sign up is your name, zip code, and e-mail address. To view all the prizes being given out throughout the month, you can visit the contests website at www.agr.state.il.us/25days/.

The Buy Illinois Challenge website also has links and information on where you can purchase a variety of different Illinois made products, as well as a directory of companies which are already taking part in the Illinois Products Logo Program. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:45
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