Community Food Systems Micro-Grant Program

The Liberty Prairie Foundation is committed to supporting innovative local food projects in Lake County. Across the county, nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, civic groups, and others are engaged in dynamic work to improve their communities through food. Organizations are not only addressing hunger relief, but are also using food and agriculture as a job skills training opportunity and a way to engage communities in health and wellness initiatives. The Foundation’s Lake County Community Food Systems Micro-grant Program supports projects that are using food as a catalyst for change, whether by relief efforts, entrepreneurial opportunities, education, and more.

Request for Proposals

The 2017 cycle is currently open. The request for proposals (RFP) was issued on Feb. 6, 2017, with proposals due by March 24.  Click here for the RFP. Proposals are being solicited from Lake County-based nonprofit 501c(3) organizations and government entities engaged in local food work.

2016 Selected Projects

The following organizations were selected for funding in 2016:

  • Andrew Cooke Magnet School – help Cooke’s greenhouse project purchase Tower Gardens which will produce healthy, organic fruits and vegetables for student families and the school’s salad bar.
  • Catholic Charities of the the Archdiocese of Chicago – purchase garden equipment and provide staffing support for their garden project in Waukegan which provides fresh vegetables to their food pantry clients.
  • GreenTown Waukegan – support urban farming project in the Madeleine Fuqua Garden in Callahan Park, in partnership with the Waukegan Park District, to expand production and donate produce to a local food pantry.
  • Mano a Mano Family Resource Center – support community garden program which offers income-generating opportunities for low-income residents who often left behind cultural traditions and economic practices tied to small-scale agriculture in their countries of origin.
  • Roberti Community House – support their partnership with Fair Share Food which allows Roberti House to distribute fresh food to their clients.
  • The Chapel, Mundelein CARE Garden – expand the CARE Garden to include a small fruit orchard for their food pantry ministry.
  • Waukegan Park District – support their Garden to Table program which exposes families to gardening, teaches the importance of good nutrition, encourages spending time in nature, and prioritizes quality family time.

2015 Selected Projects

The following projects were selected for funding for the 2015 pilot grant period:

  • Andrew Cooke Magnet School – improve the school’s greenhouse so students and staff can use it year-round. Cooke’s Greenhouse Growing Project teaches kids about gardening and cultivates an interest in sustainability and healthy eating.
  • The Fuller Center for Housing Hero Project Lake County – support their Wellness Program for low-income residents which provides community garden classes, teaches youth how to create and manage a garden, hosts community meetings, and runs cooking demonstrations at the Waukegan Free Farmers Market.
  • Village Homesteading Mundelein – support season extension and production at the Fremont Township Community Garden. The organization grows fresh vegetables for low-income clients in Fremont Township and educates people about growing food, self-sufficiency and sustainable gardening practices.
  • University of Illinois Extension – launch the Community Green Garden Project in North Chicago which will provide low-income residents with the opportunity to plant, grow, harvest and consume fresh vegetables from the community garden.
  • Roberti Community House – support their fresh food distribution efforts to low-income clients in Waukegan which include several programs that provide healthy food to clients and local food pantries.
  • Lord of Glory Lutheran Church Food Pantry – help purchase a vehicle to transport food from local partner organizations to the food pantry. The pantry partners with local grocery stores, farmers markets and farmers to provide food for 1,500 – 2,000 clients each month.

Outcomes

Outcomes will be collected from organizations awarded a micro-grant at the end of the granting period, and will be reported here.