CENTRAL ILLINOIS LOCAL FOOD PROCESSING CENTER
MEETING NOTES--December 7, 2010
Attending: Chef Joshua Huddleston, Chef Manny Martinez, Adam Cook, Dylan Cook, Bob Hunt, Karen Hanrahan,
Marsha Veninga, Elaine Sebald, Marty Payne, Terra Brockman, Tom Marlow
Terra Brockman provided a report on our presentation to the ONE VOICE task force on November 16. Though
our project was not selected for this year’s program, response to the presentation was extremely positive. Here
is additional information about the presentation:
o Handout: How a Community-Based Food System Builds the Local Economy
o Handout: Food Innovation Center Job Impact
o Pantagraph article on One Voice meeting
Dr. Allen Goben, the President of Heartland Community College and a member of the ONE VOICE task force,
expressed an interest in exploring how the College might assist with our project. As a result, Mary Beth Trakinat,
Vice President of Continuing Education, and Kim Barman, Dean of Community and Corporate Education
Continuing Education, are now working with the Steering Committee to identify potential partnership
Terra Brockman has contacted Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center about doing a local food assessment
for our area. Ken recently completed a similar study--"Finding Food in Farm Country" for the nine-county
area surrounding Springfield, IL. (More information on what these types of studies involve, along with a
summary report for Springfield, is provided here.)
Terra talked with Ken about doing a broader 30-county food assessment, which would include all of the counties
surrounding Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Peoria—in addition to Bloomington-Normal. We felt this study
might provide a better representation of the potential area feeding into our processing center. Ken indicated the
largest regional study he’s done was for the Appalachian Sustainable Ag Project, which included 23 counties.
This study is available here.
o Ken indicated that the “local story” is what people usually respond to. Smaller regions (sometimes
individual counties) want their own data sets to use when they talk to their own politicians, economic
development folks, granting organizations, etc. So he suggested that we have him do the smaller studies
for selected counties around C-U, around B-N, and around Peoria.
o Based on Ken’s recommendations and our desire to have a more holistic view of the regional picture for
our project, we would like to pursue both individual community reports (Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-
Urbana, Peoria, and Springfield—which has already been completed), PLUS a regional report that
combines all of the individual community reports. Presentations would be made to the individual
communities, based on their individual findings. In addition, we would have the regional report presented
to Processing Center stakeholders and other interested parties.
o Estimated cost for this entire project is $15,000. This would include Ken’s fee for compiling the reports,
making presentations to each of the communities and to those interested in the regional report. It would
also include seed money (estimated at $2,000 total) for one local food event—meal or reception) in each
community (to accompany one of Ken’s community presentations), and for print materials to promote the
community presentations and share results (estimated at $1,000).
o Our goal is to have the assessment completed in the next three months and to do the community
presentations in late spring/early summer (when more local produce is available for a local food event).
The Finance committee is exploring funding options that may be available within a short timeframe. We
already have contacts with Springfield and Champaign-Urbana that can provide a basis for partnership,
and we will be working to identify potential partners in Peoria.
o We are working with Mary Beth Trakinat to explore the potential for partnering with Heartland Community
College, with the community colleges in Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, and Springfield, and with the Illinois
Green Economy Network (IGEN). Ken Meter said that, in his experience, community colleges are good
partners. He mentioned Marshalltown Community College in Iowa that has worked with the Leopold
Center on a Sustainable and Entrepreneurial Ag program. He mentioned a funder in Hawaii that will only
give money to community colleges because of their responsiveness to community needs. Marshalltown
has also started a program to train immigrants in local food production.
Elaine Sebald provided a status report on work with Illinois State University Dining Services staff to determine
what products they might be able to source locally during 2011, as a pilot to help us learn more about how local
producers and institutions can work together.
o ISU has provided a spreadsheet indicating what products they are interested in sourcing locally for the
pilot, along with information on quantities, current pricing, and other requirements.
o A survey will be sent to local producers shortly, asking them to indicate what products they might be
willing to supply and at what price.
Marty Payne explained a new potential "quick start" project for 2011, which involves partnering with a local church
or other community organization that may have an underutilized commercial kitchen we could use for projects like
the following. She has plans to meet with the chef at Second Presbyterian to see if they might be interested in
o Use the kitchen to help with farmers' market gleaning program with Home Sweet Home Mission--using
the facilities to do minimal processing of produce donated to the mission to make it easier for the mission
to use the donated products (e.g., shucking, blanching, and freezing sweet corn)
o Make the kitchen available for limited use by farmers participating in the farmers' market for some value-
added processing (salsa, jams, etc.)
Updates were provided on pre-feasibility study research being completed by local university students to assist us
in determining what type of business models and organization structures we should consider for the processing
o Tom Marlow, Illinois Wesleyan University senior majoring in Environmental Studies, has identified key
features that differentiate various models for a food innovation center, to determine the model best suited
for our community. His presentation and final report are available on our Groupsite.
o Nathan Briley and Dimitris Rousseas, University of Illinois law students, have completed research
identifying various community kitchens and processing centers across North America. They have
compiled a spreadsheet with details about these facilities, which they will be sharing with us shortly.
Next semester, they will follow up this phase of their research with more detailed recommendations
regarding organizational structure. We will post their research paper and spreadsheet on the Groupsite
as soon as we receive it.
OTHER TOPICS & ACTION ITEMS:
The members attending this meeting identified several issues, questions, and tasks that they recommend we begin
exploring as a group before our next meeting. We have posted the following items on the Groupsite so all group
members can provide their thoughts and ideas. Here is a quick summary of each, along with a link to the Groupsite,
where you can add your thoughts.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Here are some questions that have been raised. Can you help us with answers?
What Projects Should We Consider for 2012? We will need to start applying for 2012 grants in the next few
months. We are already exploring potential 2012 grants and funding opportunities, but we also need to think
about what projects we should be doing in 2012, so we can match our project priorities to the funding
priorities for granting organizations. Click on this link to view ideas that have already been submitted—and to
share your own ideas.
Do We Need a New Name? Do you have ideas for a better name for our project or group--one that will be
more meaningful to people and get their attention? Click on this link to post your ideas and suggestions!
What Services Should our Local Food Center Offer? In our last meeting, the group suggested that we
needed to be thinking about more than just a processing center, if we really want to get the community
engaged. Suggestions included: cooking classes, retail shop, commissary, bakery, café, test kitchen for local
restaurants, food truck, mobile butchering or cheese-making facility. What do you think of these ideas? What
other ideas would you like to suggest we consider?
Where Should We Look for Funding? Do you have ideas on funding sources we should investigate?
CAN YOU HELP? We have a couple of projects on the table that need someone to adopt them. Click on the
links below to learn more. If you are interested in leading or working on one of these projects, please let us know!
Plan Local Food Socials: The group would like to have more opportunities to interact with each other in a
social setting. They also feel this might enable us to link up with others interested in local food. Would you
be willing to work with local restaurants and cafes to plan simple socials that could replace a few of our
regular business meetings throughout the year? Chef Josh Huddleston of Medici’s has already offered to
host the first one!
Develop Local Food Classes for Heartland Community College: Heartland Community College is interested
in offering a series of local food classes for their Community Education program in the 2011 Summer and Fall
terms. Would you be interested in working with the College and with local farmers, chefs, and others to plan
some local food classes?
Develop On-farm Food Safety Training Program: This would involve working with Heartland Community
College to fund and develop a program to provide food safety training to farmers. This will likely be a
requirement of some institutional buyers as we begin to scale up, so we see a need to get a program in
operation during 2011. If you are interested in getting involved, please let us know.
FEELING PHILOSOPHICAL? We have started a blog using some of Terra Brockman’s thoughts on what we
mean by a community-based food system—and why we need one. Read Why Do We Need a Community-Based
Food System? Post your thoughts, or start your own blog.
As always, you encourage you to join the Groupsite and post your own discussions or start your own blog. Thank you for
your support of local food in our community! We wish you all a warm and wonderful holiday!