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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 FINANCE: 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 opportunities. MARKETING/PROMOTION: Terra Brockman has contacted Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center about doing a local food assessment TM-- 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. STAKEHOLDERS: 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 this project. 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.) BUSINESS MANAGEMENT/FACILITIES: 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 center. 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!
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