2022 Resilience Fund Awards

18 farms receive a total of $175,000 to increase capacity and resilience of the local food system

With generous financial support from the Chicago Region Food System Fund, Illinois Stewardship Alliance is pleased to help 18 local farms get the funds they need to build a more resilient local food system and increase access to local food for communities across Illinois.

The Resilience Fund provides Illinois local food producers help with investment in on-farm infrastructure necessary to increase the capacity and resilience of the local food system. 

In total, 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. A total of $175,000 was available for the awards. 

A few examples of how local farmers plan to use the Resilience Fund grant to improve the capacity and resilience of the local food system are:

Dr. Jifunza Wright of Black Oaks Center in Pembroke Township plans to use the Resilience Fund grant to invest in equipment that will be shared by multiple small farm operations to increase perennial fruit tree orchards and berry production as part of the Pembroke Farmland Restoration project.

Rachael Smedberg of Tulip Tree Gardens located in Beecher plans to purchase a walk-in cooler and cold-shipping supplies to expand the capacity of their community supported agriculture (CSA) program. With an increase in cold-storage, the farm will be able to provide meat and dairy products to their members, as well as significantly increase their membership, including the addition of more members using Federal supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. 

Stephanie Dunn of Star Farm in Chicago plans to begin phase one of Stockyard Gardens, a 36,000 sq. ft. urban farm located on previously vacant land in Chicago. The farm will not only produce nutritious, locally grown food for the community, but will be an incubator site for two beginning farmers and host hundreds of volunteers and program participants each year.

The 2022 Resilience Fund was made possible by the financial support of the Chicago Region Food System Fund. “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,” Doyle added. 

A full list of grant recipients and projects can be found below.

To learn more about each grant recipient and project, visit the Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s 2022 Resilience Fund Grant Recipient Webpage.

2022 Resilience Fund Grant Recipients:
All Seasons Farm – Stage One Cool Down Station (Cobden)
Black Oaks Center – Pembroke Farmland Restoration (Pembroke Township)
Chanticlare Farm – Hoophouse (Winfield)
Fresher Together – “The Water Only Flow, Thanks to the Well” (Chicago)
Garlic Breath Farm – Organic Roadside Farm Stand (Elburn)
Glaciers End – On-farm Kitchen (Johnston City)
Gorman Farm Fresh Produce – High Tunnel & Two-Wheel Tractor (Monee)
Greene Fields Farm – On-farm Refrigeration (Greenfield)
Jo Daviess Local Foods – Cold Storage Buildout(Elizabeth)
Leaf Food Hub – Local Equitable Access to Food (Carterville)
Mint Creek Farm – Innovating Mobile Prairie for Pastured Poutlry(Cabery)
Piscasaw Gardens – Sweet Corn Irrigation (Harvard)
Sowing Seed Urban Garden Center – Operation Grow More (Rock Island)
Star Farm Chicago – Stockyards Gardens (Chicago)
The Flock Farm – Walk-in Freezer (Anna)
The Mad Farmer’s Garden – Tools for Continued Soil Health (Coal Valley)
Three Rivers Community Farm – Improving Potato Production & Harvesting (Elsah)
Tulip Tree Gardens – Shipping & Refrigeration (Beecher)

We look forward to seeing each of our Resilience Fund Recipients implement these projects on their farms!