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Local Food Systems as Community and Economic Development in Rural Illinois Sarah Hultine Research Assistant, Lab for Community & Economic Development University.

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Presentation on theme: "Local Food Systems as Community and Economic Development in Rural Illinois Sarah Hultine Research Assistant, Lab for Community & Economic Development University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Local Food Systems as Community and Economic Development in Rural Illinois Sarah Hultine Research Assistant, Lab for Community & Economic Development University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign Project Team: Dr. Leslie Cooperband, Principal Investigator, Lab for Community & Economic Development Pat Curry, University of Illinois Extension Anne Heinze Silvis, Lab for Community & Economic Development

2 What is a local or community- based food system? Production, processing and consumption tied to a geographic region Food policies that promote local food production, processing and consumption Widespread access to adequate, affordable and nutritious foods Stable base of local, family- owned farms that use sustainable farming practices Food and agriculture related businesses that create jobs within community Local processing Direct marketing & Local Consumption Local production

3 Local Food Systems as Community and Economic Development for Rural Illinois Research Questions How do we build locally based food systems in rural communities? What makes a local food system successful? Are there key characteristics within a community that promote local food system activities? What are the economic impacts of local food system activities? Do community residents attitudes about their community influence the success of local food system activities? What impact do relationships between producers and food buyers have on a community? What information is necessary for local leaders to influence the development of a local food system?

4 Research Methods Case Studies –Fairbury, IL –Central Illinois Farmers Markets Surveys –Intercept surveys at farmers markets and Daves Supermarket (late summer 2005) –Mail surveys to: Direct market farmers in 13 county region (Fall 2004) Institutional food buyers in 13 county region (Fall 2004) Random sample of residents in 22 county region, oversampled in case study communities (February 2006) Focus groups/Interviews –Focus group with farmers market vendors and managers to define a successful farmers market (February 2006) –Interviews with key stakeholders in the Fairbury project, including business owners and producers (summer 2005, and ongoing)


6 Economic & Community Development: Key Findings Local leaders and government officials are aware and supportive of the farmers market. –In Effingham, 57% responded dont know, and another 14% disagreed. In the other communities, dont know responses ranged from 40-53%. Local leaders encourage and support business innovation. –Respondents unsure whether local leaders encourage and support business innovation. Farmers markets may not be the most viable opportunity for all rural communities: need critical mass of consumers and vendors; consumers want more vendors and variety of products. Community SurveyFarmers' Market Did not purchase local food Purchased local foodCustomers Agree 64.3%70%96.1% Disagree 35.7%30%3.9% Local food system markets/activities provide a place to socialize.

7 Urban Rural Farmers Markets SullivanMetamoraTaylorvilleEffingham Bloomington/ Normal Urbana/ Champaign Population4,3262,70011,42712,384110,194103,913 Year Market Started200420022003199519981978 Average Number of Food Vendors46454055 Estimated Weekly Customers (peak)100300100 3,000 Median Dollar Amount Spent at Market (survey day) $7.00$10.00$2.00$6.50$12.00$20.00 Location of Market downtown square edge of town, on highway downtown square downtown

8 Rural/Urban Contrasts I visit the farmers market strictly to purchase food.

9 Have you purchased locally grown food at other markets this year?

10 The Anomaly: Metamora A rural market, but: Urban influences Active, engaging manager Involved local officials Coordination with local businesses

11 The Fairbury Project Other Opportunities for Building Local Food Systems in Rural Communities

12 Fairbury, Illinois FairburySullivanIllinois Population3,9684,326 Median household income $41,298$33,197$46,590 Families below poverty level 3.3%5.4%7.8% % high school degree or higher 78%78.4%81.4% 1,330 farms in Livingston County in 2002 (7% decrease from 1997) Average farm size of 479 acres, increase of 11% since 1997 Livingston County ranks 4 th in state for total value of agricultural products sold. Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000. NASS, USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture

13 Spence Farm, Fairbury IL

14 Diversity of produce

15 Integrating heritage breeds of livestock with vegetables

16 Osage Acres Farm, Fairbury, IL

17 Daves Supermarket, Fairbury, IL

18 The Fairbury Project In 2004, total local food store sales of $850; by 2005, total sales increased 136% to $2,009. Additional sales to several restaurants in Fairbury, plus requests from other grocery stores in region. 96% of respondents do their primary food shopping at Daves 85% of customers agree that the business relationship between Daves and the local farmers is good for their community. Comment from respondent: Daves is definitely a vital part of Fairbury. Its wonderful to have this quality of store close to home!

19 So what do Daves customers think? We surveyed 73 shoppers at Daves in Fall 2005. Almost 65% have purchased food from the local farmers shelves. 96% rated the farmers products as excellent or good quality. 98% said they would recommend the farmers products to their friends and family. 85% said they would buy more products from the local farmers shelves if they were made available.


21 Community comments Chamber of commerce, economic development committee chairperson: Anyone visiting Spence Farm has to drive through Fairbury – great tourism opportunity for the community. Fairbury mayor: This is just the tip of the iceberg on what could be done. Fairbury is unique – there is tremendous pride and support for the community. I mention the project when Im promoting Fairbury to potential businesses.

22 What can you do with leeks? Building local food systems in your community: Advice from Fairbury leaders Develop public education materials targeted to rural community: People dont realize the product theyre getting locally – the concept is not the same in rural areas as in Chicago. Create entrepreneurial workshops- including agricultural businesses Encourage cooperation among growers to provide variety of products Promote inclusion of rural businesses (including farms) within Chamber of Commerce Encourage appreciation of alternative opportunities for agricultural operations

23 Next Steps Continue data collection and analysis –22 county consumer survey –Visiting farmers markets –Direct marketing outlets Design educational programs and materials for key participants Identify and develop approaches for providing technical assistance Publish results


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