Illinois Farmers Resilience Fund

UPDATE: The Resilience Fund is among 6 initiatives funded by The Chicago Region Food System for 2022

With financial support from the Chicago Region Food System Fund, the Alliance launched the new Resilience Fund to help Illinois farms invest in critical infrastructure to scale up and adapt their business models. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased demand for locally produced food in Illinois. With the right investment in on-farm infrastructure now, local food producers can leverage this moment to expand the supply and diversity of local food. 

What Can the Funds be Used For?

The following information about the 2020 Resilience Fund will be updated for 2022 with input from Illinois farmers.

Projects must be designed to improve the capacity and diversity of the local food supply and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Farm infrastructure or investments such as on-farm improvements to increase scale and/or efficiency of the operation, purchase of capital investments and refrigeration units, grain storage, online sales development;
  • Supply chain infrastructure or investments such as transporting products to market, coordinating pick-up, aggregation, and distribution of food items from multiple sources;
  • Institutional or wholesale investments such as increased production, product packaging, and value-added processing or administrative prerequisites.
  • Launch, expansion, or operational improvement of cooperative or multi-farm collaboration and other mutually-owned businesses 

This fund is not intended to be emergency relief aid or to support general operating expenses on the farm (e.g. recurring farm expenses, loan payments). See the Alliance’s list of emergency resources available for farmers in response to COVID19 and the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

We will consider awarding grants to partially fund larger projects/purchases (e.g. a down payment for a truck would be an eligible request). We do not require applicants to have matching funds but describing other financial support for their project may increase their score in our assessment of financial viability. 

Resilience Fund Press Release

Additional Farmer Grants

The Chicago Region Food System Fund is accepting applications from non-profit organizations responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on Chicago region communities and the local food economy. With an initial investment of $4.2M, the Fund focuses on hunger and business disruption in the local food system—from production to processing to distribution to consumption—in an area approximately 200 miles from Chicago. 
Apply by July 29, 2020 at ChicagoRegionFoodFund.org.

Advocates for Urban Agriculture’s Capacity-Building Grant program was designed by and for Chicagoland farmers. Grants will range from $2,500-$20,000 and will empower Chicagoland urban farm businesses to expand their ability to produce and distribute locally grown food through increased operational support and capital projects. More information about this grant will be released this summer.

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) Fund-a-Farmer Grants provides grants up to $2500 to qualifying farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals. Applications will open in October 2020.