April 14, 2024

Grants awarded to local food efforts

Illinois Stewardship Alliance Grant Program Coordinator Joshua Snedden

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Nineteen local food projects were awarded grants aimed at strengthening the local food system and increase access to agricultural products grown and raised in Illinois.

With funding provided by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance announced the recipients of the Local Food Infrastructure Grants totaling $1.8 million.

The grant provides farms, food business, institutions, cooperatives and more help with investment in local food infrastructure and equipment necessary to scale up the processing, aggregation and distribution of local food raised or grown in Illinois.

A committee of 10 Illinois-based agriculture and food system experts reviewed the applications and identified 19 impactful local food projects with whom to provide grant awards up to $150,000 to implement their proposed projects.

“Our local food system needs this help more than ever.”

—  Joshua Snedden, grant program coordinator, Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Nearly 250 farms and food businesses applied for the grant funding with project requests totaling $23 million.

Grant recipients were:

• Allen’s Farm Quality Meats, Homer — improve meat processing facility and equipment.

• Central Illinois FarmFED Co-op, Mt. Pulaski — build out processing infrastructure and retail space for cooperative.

• Demange Family Farms, St. Jacob — build out a processing, storage and distribution facility.

• Down on the Farms, Fairbury — expand cold storage and distribution capabilities.

• The Flock Farm, Anna — build a USDA poultry processing facility.

• Fuller Park Community Development, Eden Place, Chicago — build a food aggregation facility.

• Funks Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains, Shirley — establish grain milling and processing facility.

• Garlic Breath Farm, Elburn — improve accessibility to farm stand.

• Illinois Country Harvest, Prairie du Rocher — establish grain milling and processing facility.

• Jo Daviess Local Foods, Jo Daviess County — establish a food distribution center.

• Just Roots, Chicago — increase cold storage and distribution capabilities.

• LEAF Food Hub, Carterville — increase food hub efficiency and capacity with upgraded equipment.

• Living Light Farms, Paxton — increase cold storage and distribution capacity particularly for meat.

• Palomares Social Justice Center, Rock Island — increase access to fresh foods with more cold storage.

• Sola Gratia Farm, Urbana — expand post-harvest processing facility and distribution reach.

• Terripin Farms, Quincy — build out a shared processing, storage, aggregation and distribution facility.

• Tulip Tree Gardens, Beecher — improve delivery capabilities with a new refrigerated vehicle.

• Urbana Acres collaborating with St Paul Episcopal Church, Peoria — build out a shared commissary kitchen.

• Urbana Growers Collective, Chicago — increase cold storage and post-harvest processing capacity.

Grant recipients were announced at a press conference March 20 at the capitol.

Local Mission

“Our recipients are dedicated to the mission of local food. They are creative and innovative,” said Joshua Snedden, Illinois Stewardship Alliance grant program coordinator, who co-owns Fox at the Fork Farm in Monee with his wife, Morgan.

“They are local growers and food distributors who wake up every day thinking about how they can and will feed Illinois more efficiently and more effectively. Whether it’s down the street, or across the state, they’re working to get local foods to our communities.

“We turn our attention here from celebration to advocacy. The tremendous demand shows more LFIG funding is needed. We can build on the momentum from inaugural grant cycle.

“We will be asking the recipients and our supportive legislators and state officials to join us in pushing for more funding.

“This funding will not only help our local food system, but the funding will also create jobs for trades people like carpenter, electricians and plumbers contracted to help complete these projects or provide business to equipment distributors like Johnson Food Service in Peoria where my wife and I source our American-made cold storage equipment.

“Our local food system needs this help more than ever.”

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor