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2023-24 Funded Projects

With funding provided by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Stewardship Alliance is excited to help 19 local food projects get the funds they need to strengthen the local food system and increase access to agricultural products grown and raised in Illinois. Learn more about each project below.

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With $150,000.00 in funds, we will be able to improve our facility and equipment, which will help us increase capacity to serve additional farms in the region.


With $148,000 in funds, we will be able to purchase the building located at 108 S. Washington Street in Mt. Pulaski, IL, and begin the necessary build-out for our processing infrastructure as well as the retail space for our partner, Market on the Hill, which will help us establish our distribution and aggregation program this year.

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Three Generations of Farmers from DeMange Family Farms in Illinois


With $106,000 in funds, we will be able to build an energy efficient produce packing and storage building with a restroom for employees, which will help us increase the daily amount of products available to be delivered to the community, provide space and prep area to add value added products to our farm stands and farmers markets, and serve as a farm stand in St. Jacob.


With this $110,000 grant we will be able to purchase an additional delivery vehicle, expand our cooler and freezer space in our warehouse and scan and trace every farm's product more efficiently from farm to customer.

Delivery Truck from Down at the Farms of Fairbury, IL
Brent Glays of The Flock Farm in Anna, IL with poultry


With $150,000 in funds, we will be able to build a USDA poultry processing plant, which will help us to farm full time and process poultry for an other farms in and around the community.  


With a $150,000 investment the Grow a Greater Food Bank Project will build a food aggregation center in an existing location on Chicago’s’ south side. In this food aggregation center a commercial kitchen will be built, a professional wash & pack facility will be installed, and professional walk-in coolers will be available for all association members to allow more holding time for their perishable produce and space to process their vegetables into value added products.

Michael and Amelia Howard of Eden Place Nature Sanctuary in Chicago, IL
Funks Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains owners standing in a grain field in Shirley, IL


With $72,124.16 in funds, we will be able to dry, clean, and store grain and provide cold storage for grain and other products for our farm and for our neighbors, which will help us expand the availability of our farm  products and other locally grown food in the region and set us up to establish our full-service grain facility.


With $17,598.75 in funds, we will be able  to install a gravel driveway for our Organic Roadside Farm stand prior to its grand opening in May of 2024, which will help us to be able to attract more customers to our farm store, increase accessibility for our local produce and value-added products, and will also add to the store’s curb appeal, increasing our drive-by marketing and overall sales.

Pferschy's of Garlic Breath Farm in Elburn, IL
The Duensing's of Illinois Country Harvest stand in front of their barn in Prarie du Rocher, IL


With $26.900 in funds we will be able to purchase a commercial grain cleaner, commercial grain mill and dust hood and a moisture tester to complete the entire process of a small scale seed to artisan flour operation on our small farm and provide moisture  testing, cleaning and milling processes and educational resources for other small farmers. 


With $140,000 in funds, we will be able to build a food hub, which will help us serve more customers and improve the livelihoods of local farmers. 

Erin Keyser with her delivery van, Jo Daviess Local Foods in Jo Daviess County, IL
Sean Ruane harvests produce at Just Roots in Chicago, IL


With $70,000 in funds, we will be able to purchase a refrigerated van and expand our on-site refrigeration capacity, which will help us to transport produce between our farms, distribute fresh produce to community members with accessibility needs, and collaborate with other nearby farms to aggregate and distribute fresh food. 


With $79,887.09  in funds, we will be able to purchase needed equipment, which will help us reduce waste and increase revenue for farmers, feed more people and support the growth of our organizations.

LEAF Food Hub farmers in front of the barn in Southern Illinois
Tim Roth poses with a lamb at Living Light Farms in Paxton, IL


With $43,800 we will be able to fix our current freezer and also purchase a mobile freezer and truck, which will help us to safely store and transport our products for our community, year round.


With $8,100, we will be able to purchase refrigeration units which will help us store more fresh, locally grown produce so we can provide it to the community for free.

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Farmers harvest produce at Sola Gratia Farm in Urbana, IL


With $117,690 in funds, we will be able to expand our farm’s post-harvest processing facility and distribution reach for both SGF and area growers, allowing 1) improved food safety; 2) refined efficiencies; 3) expanded offerings, 4) skills demonstration, training and development, and 5) expanded wholesale reach and fresh food distribution.


With $150,000, We will be able to create a value-added processing And Storage facility, which will help us and many small farmers create less waste and value-added products to sell expanding local foods in Illinois, which would not be possible without the grant.

Jessica (Jess) Whiston and her husband pose with produce at Terripin Farms in Quincy, IL
Rachael and Jesse Smedberg pose with their family at Tulip Tree Gardens in Beecher, IL


With $59,900 in funds, we will be able to provide both distribution and aggregation access to farmers which will help us all catalyze a truly impactful, profitable, equitable & sustainable local food system for all demographics.  


With $105,000 funds, St Paul Episcopal Church, in collaboration with Urban Acres, will be able to expand operations, which will enable more food entrepreneurs, create more produce, teach more classes, and create more economic development.

Farmer poses proudly with produce at Urban Acres in Peoria, IL
Farmer tows a wagon at Urban Growers Collective in Chicago, Il


"With $95,000 in funds, UGC will be able to complete Processing Center Shed project’s interior furnishings for use in 2024 growing season, which will help UGC in its own growing operations’ post harvest processing, provide shared space for emerging growers use in their own operations, and provide infrastructure for hands-on training of new growers."

Interested in the announcement, check out the press release.

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