Congratulations to Jim Slama and the FamilyFarmed team for hosting another amazing Good Food Festival and thanks to all the exhibitor companies for showing off their phenomenal products! This year’s event was extra special with visits both from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner; and Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin.
In his talk, Governor Rauner emphasized the importance of locally grown, sustainable, responsible, and healthy food. He recognized the innovation and leadership of the local farm movement that creates jobs and helps all residents lead stronger and healthier lives. The Governor also highlighted how local foods help make our environment be more sustainable. Governor Rauner recognized that agriculture is the backbone of Illinois’ economy. He stated that the presence of the local food community at events like the Good Food Festival is a demonstration of the transformation taking place in the food industry.
Senator Durbin acknowledged the growing demand of local foods and stressed that this development has the ability to lessen the expanse of the supply chain, thereby reducing emissions for an increasingly carbon conscious world.
Senator Durbin highlighted the significant rise of diabetes in America and deemed it the “Hurricane Katrina of healthcare.” The Senator reported that currently, one out of eleven Americans has been diagnosed with diabetes; with a projection of one out of every three Americans having the disease by mid-century.
As local food movements continue to grow, such as the Good Food Festival, Senator Durbin noted the increased opportunity to educate school children on the importance of high quality food. He recalled a Chicago school principal telling him most of school’s students consumed “Flaming Hot Cheetos” for breakfast. Hopefully, the continued success of the local food movement will counteract such unhealthy food choices.
As Senator Durbin stated, “the lesson here is that when you have a leader or leaders who can identify a purpose that people will engage with and choose to do it for their own benefit, and for a greater social benefit, there’s no reason why it can’t happen again and again.”