Kankakee, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Congresswoman Robin Kelly completed a two-day Agricultural Tour through Kankakee County today, with stops at the Kankakee Chamber of Commerce, several farms and a grain handling facility.
Rep. Kelly also conducted a roundtable discussion on conservation and water quality with area farmers and representatives of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Later, she visited a livestock farm in Monee, a corn and bean farm near Kankakee, and a large new grain elevator near Limestone. Rep. Kelly also participated in the grand opening of the Black Oaks Center Regional Food Hub in Hopkins Park, a newly developed regional distribution network for locally grown produce.
“The purpose of the tour was to listen to the ideas of farmers, agricultural officials, and business representatives on what supports they need to be successful,” Congresswoman Kelly said.
As part of her economic development plan, Rep. Kelly has introduced a bill to provide federal grants to underserved minority communities for economic growth and business recruitment and retention. She has also introduced legislation to extend tax credits to businesses to encourage hiring, including the hiring of veterans and SNAP benefits recipients.
Congresswoman Kelly said she is also trying to bring in more grocery stores to underserved areas of Kankakee County. To that end, she has introduced a bill in Congress, Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act of 2015, which would provide incentives to farmers to dedicate a larger portion of farmland to grow fruit and vegetables for sale or donation to low-income communities that lack access to traditional grocery stores.
To further address the problem of food deserts, Rep. Kelly has introduced the Community Investment and Empowerment Act, which would offer incentives to businesses, such as grocery chains, retail shops and restaurants, to set up shop in underserved areas, thereby creating jobs and employing residents in those communities.
“Your ZIP code shouldn’t hinder your ability to buy groceries, clothes for your children or a cup of coffee in your neighborhood,” Rep. Kelly. “This economic opportunity bill will address this problem at a national level.”