Entrepreneurship

The Liberty Prairie Foundation’s social entrepreneurship initiatives create local economic development through farm businesses that focus on sustainable, local agriculture. The growth of these businesses at the Prairie Crossing Farm and through the Farm Business Development Center allows farmland to provide open space with economic and health benefits for individuals, communities, and the natural world.

Projects

The impact of the Liberty Prairie Foundation’s social entrepreneurship is demonstrated through the following projects:

The Farm Business Development Center prepares farmers to meet the demand for locally-grown organic food in the Chicago region. We provide new farmers with a head start building their business with affordable access to certified organic land near the Chicago-area customer base, and access to experienced mentor farmers. Click here to learn more about the Farm Business Development Center.

The Liberty Prairie Foundation’s 10-year lease for Casey Farm is the first long-term lease of publicly owned land for sustainable local food farming in the Chicago region. The Liberty Prairie Foundation is subleasing the property to Radical Root for organic farming operations. The Foundation plans to use this pilot project to help create more opportunities for FBDC graduates to transition other public and privately owned agricultural lands in the region into local food production to meet the demand of the Chicago region. Click here for more information about Casey Farm.

Prairie Wind Family Farm serves a crucial role at the Prairie Crossing Farm as the mentor farmer for the Farm Business Development Center, and a demonstration of a very successful for-profit organic farm business. The Liberty Prairie Foundation’s partnership with Prairie Wind extends beyond their long-term lease of farm land and facilities at the Prairie Crossing Farm. Prairie Wind provides technical assistance for the overall management of the farm, and is a leader and a partner in many of the Foundation’s food systems initiatives.  Click here for information about Prairie Wind Family Farm.

Resources

FBDC field walk edited

The Liberty Prairie Foundation created or collaborated with others to produce the following social entrepreneurship resources:

This website is a result of Lake County food systems planning partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Liberty Prairie Foundation, Conserve Lake County, the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Openlands and others.

Sustainable local food systems balance economic prosperity, environmental preservation, and public health while moving agricultural products from farmer to consumer. National, regional, and local trends indicate a shift in farming practices and consumer demand, as well as present an opportunity for Lake County to capitalize on this growing economic sector.

This resource guide was compiled by the Liberty Prairie Foundation as part of the Waukegan Local Food Project. The capacity building and technical assistance initiative was designed to support Waukegan organizations pursuing local food projects and ultimately strengthen the community’s local food system.

In partnership with the Illinois Local Food, Farms & Jobs Council, the Liberty Prairie Foundation hosted/facilitated a statewide roundtable on farmer training.

This resource was created as a collaboration between Deer Run Farm, Angelic Organics Learning Center, and the Liberty Prairie Foundation to examine the direct to consumer business model for beginning farmers scaling up to serve the local food market.

This report is an outgrowth of a Liberty Prairie Foundation workshop at Prairie Crossing with developers, architects, and farmers from across the country.