We are excited to announce the 27 farms selected to receive a grant from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s Resilience Fund!
The Resilience Fund was highly competitive; we received over 80 applications from local food producers across Illinois requesting nearly $1 million in support. There were many strong proposals and the Review Committee had to make very difficult decisions.
The grantees selected comprise a diverse group of farms across Illinois:
With financial support from the Chicago Region Food System Fund, the fund was designed to assist farmers with investments in critical infrastructure to scale up and adapt their business models to meet the skyrocketing demand for local food spurred by the pandemic. With these investments, local food producers will be able to expand their impact and build more resilient farms and communities in our current time of crisis and beyond.
We are grateful to the Chicago Region Food System Fund whose financial support made this fund possible, as well as to Alliance members, for their continued support for our work to build a just and regenerative food system. If you’d like to support initiatives like this, become a member of the Alliance today.
We are also very grateful to the twelve agriculture and food specialists from across the state for their dedication and time serving on the Review Committee.
Check out all of the Resilience Fund grantees below. Visit the farmers’ website and follow them on social media to connect.
Down at the Farms
Walk-in Cooler and Delivery Truck
Down at the Farms is a 60 farm collective in Central Illinois. Their growers produce a wide variety of products using chemical free or certified organic practices, pastured livestock and non GMO seed. Down at the Farms operates as a food hub by marketing and distributing products from all their members to chefs, grocers, individuals, and institutions in Chicago and downstate. Their goal is to continue to offer these opportunities for small and beginning farmers and to reach an ever wider audience.
Down at the Farms will use this $25,000 grant to purchase a walk-in cooler and a delivery truck that will help them better support small farmers in Central Illinois selling
Terripin Farm Stand & Co-Op
Co-op Community Commercial Kitchen
Terrapin Farm Stand & Co-op is the only farm stand and co-op in Quincy, Illinois. They are open 7 days a week and average 100-700 people per day. Their mission is to provide a location where people in the community can regularly shop and purchase a majority of their food items from locally grown sources.
With this $20,000 grant, Terrapin Farm Stand & Co-op will be able to build and operate a commercial kitchen that will help their farm and other farms in the co-op become more profitable and offer more local food options to the community.
Farms in the co-op: Four Winds Farm, Mill Creek Farm, Sutter Produce Co, Haman Farms, Wilsons Country Kitchen, Albert Tryoyer and the Amish Community, Elierman Enterprizes, Windy Acres Farm, Paul Smith, Lubert Farm, Andrew Genenbacher, Lake View Berry Farm
Broadview Farm and Gardens
Broadview Farm and Gardens is a diversified family farm dedicated to providing the greater Chicago and Rockford areas with a secure and trustworthy source for well-raised food. Their pledge is to keep their practices transparent and holistic with the goal of sustainability. They aim to serve their community and others with a variety of responsibly grown vegetables, fruits, meat, and eggs.
Broadview Farm and Gardens will use this $20,000 Resilience Fund grant to purchase the necessary equipment to expand their production which will allow them to bring more food to the marketplace while increasing efficiency and decreasing labor.
On-Farm Freezer Storage
Timberfeast is a diversified livestock farm providing nutrient-dense, pasture-raised foods to the Chicagoland foodshed. Their mission is to produce the highest quality, most nutrient dense food they possibly can. They grow food that they feel good about feeding to themselves and their community.
This $10,000 grant will help Timberfeast build an on-site walk-in freezer allowing them to grow their business by increasing efficiency, storage and handling capacity. In addition, on-site storage will offer them the opportunity to expand their market base beyond Chicagoland by having a designated area for preparing orders for shipment. This will help them become a resilient business so that they may continue offering nutrient-dense foods to the community.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
Preserving the Farm Bounty:
Using freezer storage to extend shelf life and add value
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is Illinois’ first farmstead dairy-creamery. Founded in 2005, they milk goats and make dairy products, mainly cheese, but also goat-milk gelato and fruit sorbettos (with local fruits). They currently milk over 100 goats from March through December and have been certified “Animal Welfare Approved” by A Greener World since 2010.
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery will use the $10,000 Resilience Fund grant to construct a walk-in freezer for medium (1-2 months) to long-term (6+ months) storage of frozen local foods. This will help them and their fellow local farmers (produce, small grains, and meat) to create value-added products that will extend the shelf life of hyper-seasonal fresh products and generate cash flow during non-productive times of the year.
Closed Loop Farms:
Hoop House Construction and Delivery Van Down Payment
Closed Loop Farms has a 3,000 sq ft. indoor farm growing microgreens year-round and a quarter acre outdoor farm that operates seasonally and produces herbs, edible flowers, and vegetables. In an effort to make the most of their harvests, they utilize value added products, such as dried herbs and flowers, as well as vinaigrettes, sauces, soups, and pickles for home consumers. These are prepared by one of their chef customers on their behalf using their surplus products, such as over-ripe tomatoes or surplus microgreens. The farm operates with the following core principles: Waste as opportunity, environmental stewardship, local hiring and ethical labor practices, direct relationships with our customers.
With the $10,000 grant, Closed Loop Farms will construct a 30’x72′ hoop house that will extend their growing season, allow them to plant longer-season crops, and potentially grow baby greens and herbs year-round. They will also cover roughly a third of the cost of a new delivery van that will help them expand delivery capacity and reduce operating costs.
Green Earth Harvest, a program of The Conservation Foundation
Improving Storage, Reducing Lost Produce to Support Expansion
Farmer: Dan Lobbes
Phone: (630) 428-4500 Ext 154
Green Earth Harvest, a program of the Conservation Foundation, works towards their mission to “improve the health of our communities” by supplying local, organic vegetables to nearly 600 families every growing season. The farm distributes a 28 week-long farm share where they cultivate, harvest and distribute 50 types of seasonal, fresh, and high-quality vegetables and herbs. They strongly believe that healthy soil gives rise to healthy plants, which helps people and communities reach their highest and healthiest potential.
With a $10,000 Resilience Fund grant, Green Earth Harvest will pay for the vast majority of a new refrigeration unit and increase the year round supply of fresh food to their community, while significantly opening up new revenue opportunities to their farm to make them more financially secure.
Good Food GSP [Grown, Stored & Processed]
Pembroke Township, Illinois
Iyabo Farms is a small family-owned and operated organic farm that includes vegetables, poultry, and small livestock. Iyabo Farms has spearheaded organic research and education, collaborated on state and local food policies, and helped to establish farm organizations, urban farms, and several farmers’ markets within the
Chicagoland area. Their core mission is simple: The only ingredient is love [for the earth, humanity, and tomorrow’s future].
With a $10,000 grant, Iyabo Farms will increase their capacity to grow food, store fresh produce, and process it for customers. They will acquire a quality compost needed to increase their soil fertility and farm yields. Further, they will use part of the grant to build a walk-in cooler addition that will store fresh produce from the fields. They will also purchase some equipment for processing and bagging peas in compliance with FSMA food safety requirements.
All Seasons Farm
Upgrading Packing Shed
All Seasons Farm is an independent family owned 48 acre USDA certified organic farm located in the heart of Southern Illinois. Their mission is to provide their community with densely nutritious vegetables and fruits grown using certified organic standards. Their vision is to be a model for small scale sustainable agriculture while living in cooperation with the natural world. They seek ways to connect their diverse community to organic local foods and to feed minds and spirits through farm learning events.
All Seasons Farm will use the $10,000 grant to upgrade their packing barn. This will help them improve produce quality, capacity to meet local demand, and the economic sustainability of their farm.
Wash Pack Shed Upgrade
Cook Farm’s mission is to feed an ever-increasing number of people with an ever-increasing variety of Illinois-grown crops without compromising quality. The farm grows a variety of mixed-vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, diverse cover crop mixtures, seed crops, and small grains. Cook Farm is expanding their quantity and variety every year, while remaining committed to practices that build the soil, encourage ecological health, reject the use of chemicals, and produce beautiful, nutrient-rich food.
With $10,000 Cook Farm will be able to purchase equipment to efficiently handle and process the crops they are currently growing. This will help them reach out to new markets with higher quality, longer lasting crops and allow them to focus on being better growers.
Prairie Wind Family Farm
Year-Round Local Food Access
Prairie Wind Family Farm is a 40-acre USDA certified organic farm owned and operated by the Miller Family. They are located at the heart of Prairie Crossing, a conservation community in Grayslake, Illinois about 40 miles north of Chicago. They grow certified organic vegetables and raise 400 layer hens for farm-fresh, free-range eggs year-round. On six acres of the farm, they grow a food forest (a diverse native ecosystem in which the different, balanced components produce food) that includes over 400 fruit and nut trees, 400 fruiting shrubs, and 3,000 asparagus plants. Prairie Wind Family Farm’s mission is to produce the highest quality, nourishing food, and farm experiences to improve the environment, health, and community.
The $10,000 Resilience Fund grant will allow Prairie Wind Family Farm to install a walk-in freezer, which will diversify their farm store offerings, increase the local food available through their CSA program, and improve their farm’s year-round financial viability.
Sola Gratia Farm
Advancing our capacity to feed our community year-round
with investment in additional cold storage
Sola Gratia Farm grows over 50 different kinds of vegetables, herbs and fruits and over 150 different varieties, following organic growing practices. They operate a 200 member CSA, sell at three farmers’ markets, several restaurants, caterers and three area grocers. Sola Gratia Farm strives to build community and does so by encouraging community involvement in the farm, not just through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership, but through volunteer opportunities, monthly events and educational programming for enhanced food production, food distribution and food engagement.
With $10,000 in additional funds from the Resilience Fund, Sola Gratia Farm will invest in and expand their cold storage infrastructure. This will help them properly store a greater volume and variety of vegetables throughout the year, but especially in the late Fall to early Spring, enabling them to better meet their community’s local food needs and enhance their farm’s staffing, marketing, and economic sustainability.
Expanding Local Fruit and Vegetable Production with Increased Irrigation Capacity
PrairiErth Farm consists of about 400 acres, including 35 acres in permanent pasture and 75 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program, most of which borders the Kickapoo Creek. They produce a variety of grain crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat, and oats, a wide variety of some 40 fruits and vegetable crops, beef cattle, and heritage breed hogs. Their mission is to develop regenerative farming practices, promote healthy eating, and keep the wealth generated from the land circulating in their local communities.
With this $10,000 grant, PrairiErth Farm will be able to finance new irrigation equipment that will enable them to more than double their contribution to local food systems in central Illinois.
Growing, Harvesting, & Washing Greens and Root Vegetables in Hoop Houses
Farmer: Danielle Smits-Han
Smits Organics comprises 6 acres of organic crops and 10 acres of conventional crops. Their organic crops include tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, cauliflower, kale, arugula, and parsley. Their conventional crops include 5 varieties of potatoes, 20+ varieties of cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, 8 varieties of garlic, finger eggplant, napa cabbage, celery, green onions, a small selection of hot peppers, and a variety of herbs. Their mission is to provide homegrown, local produce that is not only delicious, but also good for communities and the planet.
This $10,000 grant will allow them to grow a consistent and high quality supply of greens and root vegetables in hoop houses that will help them diversify product offerings, increase revenue, and safely and efficiently process and pack these items to sell.
Star Farm Chicago
Year-Round Cultivation and Value Added Production
Star Farm Chicago is an urban farm and landscaping company in the Back of the Yards neighborhood that works to increase access to local organic produce through their mobile farm stand, local foods co-op, farmer’s market, and to provide local jobs, vocational training, horticultural therapy, and business incubation for adults with physical and developmental disabilities and employment barriers. Star Farm engages local youth in after school and summer programs, women and children in gardening programs, hosts community events, builds school gardens, and fosters a safe, inclusive space for all through urban agriculture.
With this $10,000 grant, Star Farm Chicago will be able to purchase a freezer, materials for value-added processing, and equipment to establish a year-round microgreen growing operation that will help them and other growers increase production and sales in the off-season, cut down on waste, provide a stable source of fresh produce year-round, and successfully manage a collaborative kitchen and marketplace on Chicago’s Southwestside.
Project Partners: Earnest Earth, Deeply Rooted, Growing Home, Cedillo’s Fresh Produce, Smooth and Social Roots
LEAF Food Hub
Local Food For All in Southern Illinois
LEAF, Little Egypt Alliance of Farmers, was founded in 2016 by seven Southern Illinois farmers, to support small sustainable farms. Their goals are twofold: to make ordering local food easier for busy customers; and to support small farmers by providing an online marketplace to sell their goods. Their group adheres to naturally grown and organic standards as a peer-to-peer regulated organization. They strive to make fresh local food attainable for all.
With this $9,000 grant from the Resilience Fund, LEAF Food Hub will be able to complete a coolbot trailer project that will help them to safely transport food to areas with limited access to local food.
Farms in the co-op: Bison Bluff Farm, One Circle Eco Farm, Flora Bay Farm, River to River Farm, Jen’s Joe, Five Hen Farm, Glacier’s End, BackAchers, All Seasons Farm, Angie’s Honey, Flyway Family Farm, Flo-Dough Sourdough, Baetje Farm.
Ten Men Farm
Path to Safe and Efficient Egg Production
Ten Men Farm is a little family farm on 5 acres of beautiful land. They have two flocks of free range chickens that they raise for eggs. Currently, they have 550 chickens and they gather about 500 eggs a day by hand. Their mission is to bring local amazingly delicious free range eggs to their greater community. This is why they sell their eggs everywhere, from their small town grocery store and convenience store to the larger city near them at the most upscale restaurants.
Ten Men Farm will use the $5,000 Resilience Fund grant to purchase an egg washer that will help them process larger amounts of eggs safely and efficiently.
Ryder Family Farm
2020 Capacity Expansion
Ryder Family Farm is a diversified, 10-acre family farm operation located in the southeastern-most corner of Illinois. Located alongside the Ohio River in rural Pope County, their farm is the only farm serving local residents with fresh produce and a seasonal CSA program. They grow a wide-variety of crops ranging from apples to zucchini in their orchard, a raised-bed market garden, field plots, and inside a 2,000+ square foot high tunnel which encompass about 1.5-acres of food production space.
With this $5,000 grant, Ryder Family Farm will purchase specialized equipment that will enable them to quickly expand the amounts of produce they can grow.
Catatumbo Cooperative Farm
Catatumbo Cooperative Farm is a small worker-cooperative farm run by three immigrant women and gender non-conforming farmers in South Chicago with Mexican and Venezuelan cultural ties and African and Indigenous ancestral lineages. They predominantly serve the Little Village, Englewood, and South Chicago neighborhoods in Chicago. They focus on growing culturally relevant crops from their cultural backgrounds (poblanos, aji amarillo, tomatillos, three sisters, collards, jalapenos, amaranth, lemongrass, rue, to name a few) that they use for their CSA. Catatumbo Cooperative Farm’s mission is the following: Catatumbo works to offer affordable, nutritious, sustainably grown and culturally relevant produce and herbs to Latinx, Immigrant, People of color, queer, trans, and gender non conforming and low-income neighborhoods in Chicago and surrounding communities.
With this $5,000 grant, Catatumbo will purchase the equipment needed to accomplish season extension. This will help them expand food production into the fall/winter and provide more access for historically marginalized communities while diversifying Catatumbo’s revenue streams.
Greenlight Acres is a new farm venture started in 2020. Their mission is to serve the community by providing locally accessible food, while being a model of renewable and sustainable agriculture practices and techniques. Greenlight Acres is a grower of natural vegetable produce and pasture raised lamb committed to using organic practices. Vegetable products include (but are not limited to) a variety of greens (lettuce, chard, kale etc.), root crops (carrots, radishes, parsnips etc.), and continuous seasonal producers such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. They strive to offer products outside of the ‘normal’ farmers market season of June through October, through utilizing tools such as greenhouses and high tunnels for a longer growing season.
Greenlight Acres will invest this $5000 grant in products and tools to use for expanding their growing season which will allow them to offer produce to consumers for a longer period.
Hilltop Community Gardens
Caterpillar Tunnel Project
Mt. Pulaski, Illinois
Hilltop Community Gardens is a 2 acre vegetable, fruit, and cut flower farm. They also rent out garden plots to members of the Mt. Pulaski community. They primarily sell fresh produce but do hold a cottage food license in order to begin selling some processed foods in the future. Their mission is to educate the community about the benefits of eating locally grown food, supporting local agriculture, and sustaining their local economy.
With this $5000 grant, Hilltop Community Gardens will be able to construct two caterpillar tunnels that will help them to extend their growing season to be nearly year round.
Middleton’s Preserves is run by Maryam Wood, a passionate, veteran and mother who is focused on producing locally grown vegetables, fruit, and preserved value added food. Whether that is Farm to Table or just wholesome food made right, they use organic practices to grow sustainable produce where quality beats volume. Unsold food ends up either as preserved goods, such as pickles or green beans, jam or jellies or donated to support local food banks and A Safe Place (a shelter for abused women). Predominantly covering local farmers markets in the Lake County area, Middleton’s also support online ordering directly or through www.tasteofedenmarket.com. Their mission is to get quality food to all at an affordable price, while minimizing waste.
With this $5000 grant, Middleton’s Preserves will be able to erect two polytunnels providing approximately 600 sq ft of additional covered growing space (potentially increasing the growing season by 2-3 months or up to 50%).
Moon Girl Farm
Pleasant Plains, Illinois
Moon Girl Farm grows chemical-free produce on one acre of land, about half a mile west of Pleasant Plains, IL. They grow a wide variety of berries, herbs and vegetables that they take to the Old Capitol Farmers Market every Saturday. They also deliver to local chefs, grocers and schools in central Illinois, and work with a distributor who delivers products to St. Louis and Chicago whenever they have bulk amounts. Their mission is to make clean, local produce available to everyone in their community.
Moon Girl Farm will use the $5,000 grant to purchase and install a commercial food dehydrator, which will help them preserve produce to provide to the community over a longer period of time.
One Tool to Serve a Diverse Farm
Farmer: Courtney Glazik
RoseLee Farms is a diverse row crop farm currently producing 11 crops including barley, buckwheat, corn, milo, oats, peas, rye, soybeans, spelt, sunflowers, and wheat. They also rotate a 40-head herd of beef across their farm. Their mission is to regenerate the soil while producing as many food-grade organic crops as possible.
RoseLee Farms will use this $5,000 grant to fund the majority of the purchase and retrofitting of an all crop head, that will help them more efficiently produce small grains and other row crops for local food grade markets.
Two Million Blooms
Two Million Blooms is a fledgling, family-owned bee farm in Urbana, Illinois. They specialize in small-batch honey harvested from treatment-free hives — to keep the good stuff in and the crazy chemicals out. The result is an unadulterated, flavorsome, and award-winning product. Their mission is to produce the highest quality raw honey possible and to educate others on the importance of all pollinators to our ecosystem and food production.
With this $5000, Two Million Blooms will be able to convert an old outbuilding into a dedicated honey house, which will help them to streamline their processes, scale volume, and expand their product reach within the community.
Increased Water Distribution
Wertheim’s Gardens is primarily a 3-acre herbal and spice farm consisting of Culinary,
Educational & Medicinal Gardens. It is the only Certified IL Herb Garden in Logan County. With the separate established Gardens, Wertheim’s Gardens has a multitude of options for visitors from taking a scheduled tour of the various gardens; participating in a hands-on class to learn how to make their own salves, soaps, teas or lotions; learning how to use herbs in their everyday cooking, fresh or dried; on farm dinners, and youth summer camps. Wertheim’s Gardens currently grows 87 different herbs and spice varieties, most of which are of the uncommon or Heirloom variety.
With this $5000 grant, Wertheim’s Gardens will be able to extend water lines to help increase the output of unique products for the end consumer.
Sunnyside Community Garden & Food Forest
Sunnyside Community Garden & Food Forest is on 1.5 acres of land next to Sunnyside Park in Bloomington, Illinois. They have been in operation since 2016, growing on only a third of their available acreage. They grow 35 varieties of vegetables including tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, beans, squash, peppers, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, herbs, and spinach. They also have 60 fruit trees that include apple, pear, peach, plums, cherries, apricot. The mission of Sunnyside is to provide fresh, organic produce to low-income families in West Bloomington, Illinois and to facilitate learning opportunities for children and adults through gardening, harvesting, and marketing food grown on site, using sustainable practices.
This $3,500 grant will help Sunnyside accomplish their goal of providing more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to help feed the underserved community in Bloomington and the agencies that serve them.