May 20, 2024

Grants awarded to bolster local food system

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Eighteen Illinois farms will receive a total of $175,000 in Resilience Fund grants from the Chicago Region Food System Fund to increase capacity and other local food system improvements.

The Resilience Fund provides Illinois local food producers help with investment in on-farm infrastructure. There were 127 applications requesting over $1 million in funding were received from farmers across the state.

A committee of 13 Illinois-based agriculture and food system specialists reviewed the applications and selected 18 farms with the most compelling projects with whom to provide up to $10,000 each to implement their proposed projects.

The 2022 Resilience Fund was made possible by the financial support of the Chicago Region Food System Fund.

The Chicago Region Food System Fund addresses hunger and business disruption by bolstering the region’s communities and local food system in response to COVID-19 and other systemic shocks. The total support granted by the Fund is $9,917,150 to 139 non-profit organizations since June 2020.

“COVID-19 has had an immense impact on farmers, particularly those who focus on selling their crops locally,” said Daniel Doyle, program officer for the Lumpkin Family Foundation in Mattoon, a founding donor to the Chicago Region Food System Fund.

“These producers are the backbone of a resilient local food system, and their success is critical to our collective food security. Their ability to access capital in order to pivot business models, ensure their ability to get products to consumers and increase production to meet community need has been critical.

“The Chicago Region Food System Fund is proud to support programs like the Illinois Stewardship Alliance Resilience Fund and their great work providing resources to the family farms we depend upon.”

Resilience Fund grant recipients were:

• All Seasons Farm, Cobden, cool down station for leafy greens and lettuce.

• Black Oaks Farm, Pembroke, Pembroke farmland restoration.

• Chanticlare Farm, Winfield, hoop house.

• Fresher Together, Chicago, water well.

• Garlic Breath Farm, Elburn, organic roadside farm stand.

• Glaciers End, Johnston City, on-farm kitchen.

• Gorman Farm Fresh Produce, Monee, high tunnel and two-wheel tractor.

• Greene Fields Farm, Greenfield, on-farm refrigeration.

• Jo Daviess Local Foods, Elizabeth, cold storage.

• LEAF Food Hub, Carterville, software upgrade/equipment/delivery van down payment.

• Mint Creek Farm, Cabery, innovating mobile prairie accommodations for pastured poultry.

• Piscasaw Gardens, Harvard, sweet corn irrigation.

• Sowing Seed Urban Garden Center, Rock Island, Operation Grow More.

• Star Farm Chicago, Chicago, Stockyards Gardens.

• The Flock Farm, Anna, walk-in freezer.

• The Mad Farmers’ Garden, Coal Valley, tools for continued soil health.

• Three Rivers Community Farm, Elsah, improving potato production and harvest efficiency.

• Tulip Tree Gardens Co., Beecher, shipping and refrigeration.

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor