19 Local Food Projects Awarded Grants Totaling $1.8M to Bolster Illinois’ Pork and Swine Infrastructure

“19 Local Food Projects Awarded Grants Totaling $1.8M to Bolster Illinois’ Pork and Swine Infrastructure”

With funding facilitated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance proudly announces the allocation of grants to 19 local food initiatives. These projects, supported by a total of $1.8 million, aim to fortify Illinois’ pork and swine infrastructure while enhancing accessibility to locally sourced agricultural products.

The Local Food Infrastructure Grant, championed by farms, food businesses, institutions, cooperatives, and more, serves as a vital resource for investing in the necessary infrastructure and equipment. These investments are crucial for scaling up the processing, aggregation, and distribution of pork and swine products cultivated or raised within Illinois.

A rigorous selection process overseen by a committee comprising 10 Illinois-based agriculture and food system experts culminated in the identification of 19 impactful projects. Each recipient is slated to receive grant awards of up to $150,000 to actualize their proposed endeavors.

Among the recipients, several notable initiatives highlight the diverse ways in which local farmers intend to utilize the Local Food Infrastructure Grant to fortify the pork and swine sector:

  • LEAF Food Hub, facilitating connections between a dozen southern Illinois farms and local communities, will employ the $79,887.09 grant to procure essential equipment, fostering waste reduction, bolstering farmer revenue, and broadening food access.
  • Terripin Farms, servicing over 15 farms in Adams County, plans to utilize the awarded $150,000 to establish a value-added processing and storage facility. This endeavor promises to minimize waste and enable the creation of value-added products, thereby expanding the presence of local pork and swine offerings in Illinois.
  • Allen’s Farm Quality Meats, a stalwart in serving farmers and ranchers since 1986, is set to enhance its facility and equipment with the allocated $150,000. This strategic upgrade will boost capacity, allowing for increased support to additional farms within the region.
  • Just Roots, catering to the South Side of Chicago and South Suburbs, is poised to leverage the $70,000 grant to procure a refrigerated delivery vehicle and expand on-site cold storage. These enhancements will facilitate the distribution of fresh produce to community members, particularly those with accessibility needs, while fostering collaboration with nearby farms for aggregated distribution efforts.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s generous financial backing, coupled with the dedication of the 2024 Local Food Infrastructure Grant Review Committee, underscores a collective commitment to bolstering the state’s pork and swine sector. Gratitude is extended to partner organizations, Alliance members, and local food producers for their invaluable contributions towards cultivating a healthier, more resilient food system within Illinois.