It was great to see so many friendly faces at the 2018 Illinois Farm Bureau Live Local conference! There is so much great work happening throughout Illinois to build a strong regional food economy. Seeing the enthusiasm and hearing the insights of all the attendees—including producers, processors, nonprofits, universities, food hubs, food banks, cooperatives, farmer’s markets, state and federal agencies and more— was evidence of a growing desire to establish a stronger regional food economy that benefits the communities and economies of Central Illinois. Here at GPEDC we are working to connect the dots between this growing movement, our regional strengths and assets in the ag sector, and opportunities for both rural and urban economic development.
With dozens of workshops and some great panel discussions, there was plenty to take in at the event. Our own Tory Dahlhoff spoke on one panel to discuss his experience this year as co-chair of the Regional Fresh Food Council and also moderated a panel titled “Adopting Agroforestry in Central Illinois” to discuss an emerging strategy for farm diversification and sustainability. This lively panel discussion was included in the Savanna Institute’s Nutshells Series and was recorded live. You can listen to it below:
The conference also featured some delicious, regionally-produced food, which was served at lunch and dinner.
Thanks to the Illinois Farm Bureau for another great conference! We look forward to next year.