2019 Greater Peoria Farm Forums

GP Farm Forums is a new series from the Greater Peoria EDC to facilitate discussions among farmers and other ag-based businesses, researchers, and resource organizations to encourage diversification and innovation on farms and to foster the creation of new agriculture markets and supply chains throughout Central Illinois.

Building Our Region's Specialty Crops Value Chain

March 15 • 2-5 p.m.Fergie's Pub & Banquet Center, Manito, IL

Join us to build new partnerships for piloting regional value chain projects to get more local/regional foods into Greater Peoria.

In Greater Peoria, farms large and small are taking advantage of opportunities with specialty crops. But much of the economic activity beyond production happens outside of our region. Specialty crops grown at a smaller scale in our region (such as organic vegetables and specialty grains) are sold in larger markets such as Chicago and St. Louis. Large-scale crops, such as Mason County’s green beans, go to processing facilities outside of our region.

How can we work together to establish meaningful, scalable market opportunities for specialty crops? How can we build a regional values-based supply chain that captures a greater share of the economic return by diversifying more farms, generating new business activity in aggregation, processing and distribution, increasing consumer access to these products, and building mutually-beneficial partnerships throughout the supply chain?

To honor Mason County’s nickname “The Imperial Valley of the Midwest”—due to its high volume of specialty crop production—we are hosting this next Farm Forum in Manito to explore the possibilities of developing a viable, scalable regional value chain for specialty crops. We are inviting guests that represent the numerous links in that chain—from production and aggregation, to processing, distribution, institutional purchasing, and retail.

View the agenda HERE (subject to change)

April 12 - Agroforestry in Central Illinois

Agroforestry is gaining interest throughout the Midwest as a way to make marginal farm lands more productive, improve on-farm ecosystem services, and as a potential for specialty crop production alongside traditional commodities. Join us at this forum to learn more about the opportunities and challenges for scaled adoption of agroforestry practices in Central Illinois.

Details TBD

Past Events

January 18 - Industrial Hemp

Join a room full of farmers and other agriculture industry stakeholders as we discuss the potential of hemp crops in Greater Peoria. With the legalization of industrial hemp at the state and federal level, what are the market opportunities for farmers in our region interested in adding hemp—for oil, seed, or fiber production—to their farm diversification plan?

12-3pm • Zeller Banquet Hall • Pekin, IL

Download Presentation Slides | Download Agenda & Resources

Farm Forums are organized by the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council in collaboration with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and the Illinois Farm Bureau.