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Minor spending shift could aid food industry

The state wants people to shift $10 a week of their grocery budgets toward buying Illinois food products. If enough people participate, the impact could be profound.

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 7:28 a.m. CDT

Incremental change doesn't make headlines, but it can make a big difference over time.

Cut out sweets from your diet, and over time, your waistline will shrink.

Toss your pocket change into a coin jar, and over time, you'll have saved hundreds of dollars.

Spend $10 a week from your grocery budget on Illinois food products, and over time, you can give the state's economy a big boost.

At least, that's the theory behind the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Buy Illinois campaign.

Ag officials sent out a news release that asks every Illinois household to consider dedicating $10 from its existing, weekly grocery budget toward the purchase of Illinois food products.

If that spending shift occurs in all households, the impact could total $47 million a week that won't leave Illinois' borders.

And if that spending shift continues for a year, more than $2.4 billion could be shifted from going out-of-state to staying in Illinois.

By making that incremental change, Illinois households could support thousands of jobs in the farming and food industries.

Of course, not everyone will buy into the idea.

But the more people who decide to take the "Buy Illinois Pledge" at buyillinoischallenge.com, the more the state's food industry, and the people it employs, will benefit.

The campaign complements the Ag Department's "Illinois: Where Fresh Is" project, which promotes the purchase and consumption of fresh produce grown here.

Logos have been developed to mark food products that are grown and processed in the Prairie State, thus aiding shoppers who want to take part.

In exchange for their incremental change in spending habits, what can Illinois households expect to receive in return?

Tasty food products.

Fresh fruits and vegetables.

And the knowledge that their food dollars are supporting Illinois businesses and jobs.

All that for $10 a week.

Why not give it a try?

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