Monday, October 8, 2012
Increasing local food production could create 5,000 jobs and generate $6.5 billion per year in economic activity in the Chicago metropolitan region, agency says.
Seventy-five percent of adults prefer locally grown, sustainable food, according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). As demand for fresh food grows, CMAP is stepping up efforts to engage local government in an effort to grow their communities' local food system. The agency recently launched a microsite, Local Food Systems, as well as a video that highlights the economic benefits of local food systems. “Most people are aware that local food tastes great, but the economic argument is quite compelling and it’s not expressed so much,” said Justine Reisinger, communications associate for CMAP. “This is a significant economic issue. Of the $48 billion Illinois residents spend on food every year, $46 billion is leaving the …
Friday, May 25, 2012
Lake County and regional conservation leaders believe growing food here on small farms is good for the economy as well as the health of the people and land.
Residents of Lake County and other suburbanites want local, sustainably grown food. Just one indicator of this trend is the growth in farmers markets — the number of farmers markets in Illinois tripled between 1999 and 2009, with most of the growth in the Chicago metropolitan area, according to The Local Food System, a brochure from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Local Technical Assistance program. There is actually a $10 billion unmet demand for locally-grown food in the state of Illinois, according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Meanwhile, $46 billion (96 percent) of annual food expenditures are leaving the state of Illinois. Crops like asparagus and broccoli travel thousands of miles to our table. “We …
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Patch’s guide to area farm shares for vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat; part of a Sustainable Food series.
Looking for fresher, tastier, healthier food this growing season? Many farms offer community-supported agriculture, or CSA, shares with local drop-off points. Top chefs choose locally grown food because reducing the time from farm to table ensures that food flavors are at their peak, according to FamilyFarmed.org Why Buy Locally. Farm-fresh food also lasts longer, is more nutrient dense and reduces your carbon footprint. “Being part of a CSA is a way to know where your food comes from. I’m a 'farmie;' we’re so connected to our food. We really want to know where it comes from,” said Lake Bluff resident Johanna Navari Welch, who has been a shareholder at various community-supported agriculture groups for the past seven years. Welch’s …
Monday, January 16, 2012
Program will help communities and businesses develop food hubs.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley said the state is working to increase markets for local foods, according to FamilyFarmed.org. “More people today want to know where their food comes from. Making food grown and produced in Illinois more accessible helps Illinois residents eat locally and helps boost our economy,” said Ribley at the Illinois Specialty Growers Association conference in Springfield, Jan. 12. The state plans to develop food hubs where local farmers can market their products to schools, local government agencies and other larger entities. FamilyFarmed.org offers Building Successful Food Hubs, a guide that is intended as a resource for prospective food hub operators.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Small beekeepers could be the solution to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Part of a series on local food and suburban farming. We can thank the honeybee for four of every 10 bites of food we eat, so for area beekeepers, their efforts aren’t just about the honey. Many beekeepers believe they are doing their part in helping the survival of what is likely our most important domestic species. The Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute at McHenry County College (MCC) hosted a screening of the documentary Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? Oct. 25, followed by a panel discussion with beekeepers from the Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association. The critically-acclaimed film by Taggart Seigel tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of bees through stunning photography, humorous animations, and some …
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Part of a series on local food and suburban farming.
Keeping chickens isn’t just for farmers anymore. While there aren’t statistics available on backyard chickens, a rise in popularity is evident by online chicken forums and news reports of suburbs and cities dealing with poultry zoning issues. Why do people want to keep their own chickens? Ed Fuhrmann, who is leading an effort bring backyard chickens to the Round Lake communities, said there are many reasons people want to raise their own chickens. “Very rarely in my research is it just about the chickens or just about the eggs. There’s usually a tipping point, something that breaks us out of our comfortable suburban cocoon,” said Fuhrmann, an electronics technician teacher at Great Lakes Naval Station. Fuhrmann believes food safety and …
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Backyard Chicken Run delivers feed to city and suburban coop keepers.
Part of a series on local food and suburban farming For John Emrich, the foray into the local food movement began 10 years ago when he started juicing. He realized that to get the most benefits from large quantities of vegetables, they should be organic. “There was a morphing from outdoor enthusiast to environmental advocate. Those two worlds came crashing together. I realized organic was not just the best for myself, it was also the best for the environment,” Emrich said. Going organic naturally led to an interest in local food and backyard chickens. Emrich took a class on raising backyard chickens with Angelic Organics Farm, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm and learning center in Caledonia, Ill. Angelic Organics is the basis …
Friday, September 30, 2011
Part of a series on local food and suburban farming.
Long Grove soon may become the first village in Lake County that allows its residents to keep chickens. In McHenry County, the city of McHenry also is considering welcoming backyard hens. This summer, the Crystal Lake City Council voted against chickens, but it was a close vote, decided by the city’s mayor. Other suburbs that allow chickens include Evanston, Oak Park, St. Charles, Naperville and a few other west suburbs. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Madison residents can keep hens. The city of Chicago always has allowed chickens. “It’s almost backwards from what you would expect. You would think there would be chickens in the country and you would think as you get closer to the city, it would be more restrictive. But the city allows …
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
First in a series on local food and farming in the suburbs.
At an American Farmland Trust conference held in 2000, farming was proclaimed dead in Lake County, recalled Vickey Ranney, founder of the Prairie Crossing conservation community. Eleven years later, planners are reconsidering the importance of farming to a community. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has pledged a commitment to local food and farming in its Go To 2040 plan. The regional plan includes Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties. Promoting local food is part of the plan, according to CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn, keynote speaker at the County Green conference, held in May at the College of Lake County. Blankenhorn noted that there are only two regional plans across the country which …