State Rep. Fine: buy local, buy fresh
Roxanne Junge, manager of the Glenview Park District Farmers Market
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:08AM
GLENVIEW — The newly-elected state representative for the 17th District wants grocery stores to identify locally-grown produce for customers.
Democrat Laura Fine is promoting the program “Where Fresh Is,” in which stores receive state grants to pay for in-store signs to identify food.
“This will allow grocery stores and farmers markets to promote locally-grown products so consumers can make the choice to buy Illinois-first,” she said.
Fine also said the promotion will increase farm-related jobs throughout the state.
“And farmers come to our farmers markets in the suburbs.”
Fine said Jewel Foods was considering applying for the grant. She has yet to contact two other food stores that are coming into Glenview in the next couple of years.
In December, Cleveland-based Heinen’s Fine Foods agreed to sign a 10-year lease to occupy the vacant Dominick’s grocery store on Waukegan Road in Glenview.
The store is scheduled to open between June 1 and Nov. 1, 2014.
In addition, on Jan. 22 village trustees proposed a Tax Increment Finance district for a 21-acre mixed-use development at the former Avon Products that included a Mariano’s Fresh Market.
After a long review, the Glenview Plan Commission OK’d another Mariano’s for a mixed-use project at Willow and Sanders roads.
The project now goes under review before village trustees.
Company officials for Heinen’s and Mariano’s were unavailable for comment.
Roxanne Junge, manager of the seasonal Farmers Market in Glenview since 2007, said Illinois does not grow just corn and soybeans.
“We grow lots of vegetables, too. This program helps us ramp as local food becomes more popular and in demand,” she said.
“One way to advertise local produce is through signage.”
Junge said locally-grown produce was fresher and contained more vitamins because it took less time to transport to markets.
“It also keeps money and jobs closer to home that helps the local economy.
She said the “Where Fresh Is” program could help organize food producers beyond Illinois into Wisconsin and Michigan where farmers were set up to grow a variety of products and food.
The expansion would create regional food economies, instead of stand-alone state, Junge added.
“We don’t have huge dairy farms in Illinois. Southwest Michigan with its soils is good for growing fruit. The state has associations just for apples, peaches, cherries and berries,” she said.
In 2011, 24,000 people came to the Saturday morning market in Glenview from June to October, versus 20,000 in 2008, according to a report given to Glenview Park District commissioners.
When the market moved from the downtown Metra Station in 2007 to historical Wagner Farm, attendance was 15,000 the first year.
Junge also co-chairs the Illinois Department of Public Health Farmers Market Task Force, and she is vice president of Illinois Farmers Market Association.
Henrietta Sanders, chairwoman of the Glenview Natural Resources Commissions, pointed out fine was “reflecting local values.”
“Especially when we are in the process of welcoming two new grocery store chains into our village.
“Mariano’s and Heinen’s are both known for a commitment to health and sustainability, so this is a perfect match,” Sanders said.
Fine’s 17th District covers parts of Northbrook, Skokie, Morton Grove, Evanston and Wilmette and most of Glenview.