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SPRINGFIELD – Growing and raising food for the nation is engrained in Illinois’ character, with a bountiful farming culture throughout the state. However, there are families all over Illinois who live with food insecurity every day. A measure sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes that establishes a Farm to Food Bank Program to address that gap was signed into law today.

House Bill 2879 will address the food insecurity needs identified by a feasibility study conducted by multiple state agencies. This program will help provide nutritious food to expand the Illinois emergency food system and assist more than a million Illinois citizens.

“Getting farmers’ surplus products into a program that will arrange for timely redistribution to food banks for local availability is a victory for everyone in the process,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “Farmers need a secondary market for off-grade and surplus products; food banks face rising food insecurity and difficulty making products available for their clients; and families need greater access to food, particularly for nutritious fresh products. This measure can fulfill those needs.”

During the past two General Assemblies, Holmes worked with numerous organizations to lay out a plan to establish this process and address the imbalance of surplus and hunger. She credits the input and guidance from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, partnered with Feed Illinois, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Specialty Growers Association and the Department of Agriculture in this venture.

“This measure was an initiative of the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Feeding Illinois, who are on the front line helping families source healthy food,” Holmes said. “It’s great to finally see this multi-year effort come to fruition.”

In 2018, 10.1% of Illinois’ population (1.3 million people) experienced food insecurity. Due to the pandemic, food insecurity increased to 12.7% of all Illinoisans in 2020 and 10.9% in 2021.

House Bill 2879 passed unanimously through the General Assembly in May; with the governor’s signature, it takes effect immediately.

For more information on the program, visit