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  Section: Small Farm Resource » ILLINOIS
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University of Illinois-Urbana

  CSA Learning Center
  Farm Foundation
  Illinois Department of Agriculture
  Illinois Stewardship Alliance
  University of Illinois-Urbana

Program Description
In June 1999, the University of Illinois Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP) convened the first meeting of the Illinois Small Farm Task Force to address the issues of small farms in Illinois and to determine a course of action for all those involved in small farm issues. These actions are intended to “recognize, respect and respond to the needs of small farms.”

The ASAP provides coordination to the task force which includes farmers, agencies, universities and organizations that have programs and activities that relate to small farm issues. The goals of the task force include :
  1. develop coordinated programming opportunities with public and private sector agencies who play a role or have an interest in small farm issues;
  2. assess current activities and investigate the nature and scope of these activities in Illinois, the region, and the U.S. relative to small farm issues and then develop educational programs; and
  3. seek funding for small farm educational and program development activities. The task force has successfully secured funding for several projects developed as a result of this collaboration.
Since 1999, the Task Force has also supported and coordinated several educational activities. Using North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program funds, a team of educators attended the Third National Small Farm Conference in 2002. Since 2002, the Task Force has sponsored a series of field days to provide Extension and other agriculture educators with an opportunity to learn "first-hand" about small farms across the state. With a grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Task Force sponsored a workshop, A Time to Act: Providing Educators with Resources to Address Small Farm Issues in November 2002. The goal of the two, one-day workshops was to equip educators with the sensitivity, awareness and resources to address small farm issues. The agenda included the following topics :
  1. financing and credit;
  2. marketing strategies;
  3. farmer cooperatives;
  4. regulatory and government barriers and
  5. available grants and resources. A resource manual was also developed.
Illinois is a member of the North Central Region Small Farm Task Force (NCRSFTF) and provides leadership to this 12-state group. The NCRSFT has sponsored two workshops--Small Farms - A Renewed Opportunity in March 2001 in Springfield, Illinois and the North Central Region Small Farm Task Force Workshop in November 2003 in Columbia, Missouri. The NCRSFTF has also published, A Matter of Scale: Small Farms in the North Central Region (

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant
University of Illinois
P.O. Box 410,
Greenview, Illinois 62642.
Telephone: (217) 968-5512


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