VASDC and Local Foods
From grower to grocer, VASDC is committed to assisting small towns in developing or maintaining access to fresh produce, meats, and other essentials through a financially viable local food ecosystem. VASDC has successfully assisted with the creation of several sustainable, community-owned grocery stores. In addition, VASDC is involved in supporting the development of food hubs in several communities that facilitate the aggregation of produce from several area farms. We provide technical assistance so that the new food hub is based on a solid business model. VASDC has also launched an initiative to assist local food growers and ranchers to ensure the financial sustainability of their production enterprise, called Project ReFED.
Regional Food Economic Development (ReFED) Project
Financial stability on the supply side of the regional food system equation is critical for the local food system to grow economically. To address this need, the Value-Added Sustainable Development Center launched Project ReFED, an initiative to increase job growth and business sustainability in the local food sector by providing business training for, and connections between, local farmers, food aggregators, and retail locations. The ReFED Project’s mission is to create economic growth in rural areas by providing business development assistance to beginning farmers, food processors, food hubs, food cooperatives, and independent grocers.
Mapping Local Food Systems in Illinois
To encourage the development of local food systems, VASDC partnered with the University of Illinois Extension to design a local foods map. The local foods map shows the locations of food hubs, CSAs, farmers’ markets, on-farm sale sites, vineyards and wineries, and specialty stores across the state of Illinois. To access the Local Foods Map for Illinois, click here. VASDC has also developed a directory of CSAs in the state as found here.
How can VASDC help?
- Technical assistance and advising for community-owned grocery store initiatives
- Succession planning for independent grocery stores
- Business trainings for local food farmers and ranchers
- Marketing techniques advising
- Feasibility studies
Contact us if you have any questions or to see if your project or idea is something that we can help with. We are happy to facilitate connections to those who can help should the project be outside of our scope.
Illinois local foods directories
Here are links of local food directories and local food organizations in the state of Illinois:
Statewide & national
- Farmer’s Market Online – Open Air Farmers Markets Directory
- Food MarketMaker
- Illinois Dept. of Agriculture – Farmers Markets list
- USDA Local & Regional Food Market News
Illinois local foods agencies & organizations
- Good Food Business Accelerator
- Illinois Local Food, Farms & Jobs Council
- Illinois Stewardship Alliance
- University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems & Small Farms program
Regional & national local foods resources