Cook County Farm Bureau Remains Engaged in the Community in 2021
Throughout 2021, Cook County Farm Bureau® has remained engaged and committed to partnering with and supporting local farmers, students, and non-profits.
Support for urban farmers
To support urban gardens and farms, Cook County Farm Bureau developed the Urban Garden Grant program. In 2021, leaders opted to increase the value of grants and awarded six local grants at $350 each for a total of $2,100 to support the purchase of plantings, seeds, and garden materials.
Farm Bureau will continue its support of urban farmers in 2022; grant applications are available at https://bit.ly/3rzXXY2.
Support for service members
Farm Bureau’s Young Leader Committee has historically provided support for local non-profits including donations of food, clothing, and toys. In 2021 Young Leaders hosted a care packing event for the United Service Organization (USO). Along with volunteers, they collected and then packed non-perishable foods, snacks, drink mixes, toiletries, and related items to mail to troops.
Food pantry support
Throughout the year, visits to local food pantries increased on average by more than 50% and at times up to 150% during the height of the pandemic. Cook County Farm Bureau volunteers, members, and partners rallied to provide direct assistance to over 7,400 individuals in the county: Through in-person efforts to purchase and deliver food and member donations to partner food pantries; online engagement to raise awareness of area food pantries, their needs, and service areas; and a grant program for local food pantries to expand their food offerings or facilities in light of unprecedent need.
Farm Bureau is continuing efforts to support families in need in 2022. In celebration of the healthy and nutritious food grown and raised by local farmers, Cook County Farm Bureau® members and partners are supporting local families and food pantries.
The year 2022 marks the 22nd anniversary of Food Checkout Day and Cook County Farm Bureau’s largest effort to date to support local families in need. Rather than support a single charity or even a handful, Cook CFB will match member donations to any Cook County food pantry.
Farm Bureau members who wish to donate to a local food pantry in celebration of Food Checkout Day are asked to complete the form found in the newsletter and to designate the food pantry that their donation and Cook CFB’s match is for. The food pantry selected must be a registered 501(c)3. A total of $1,000 has been allocated for this program. All donations will be considered part of Food Checkout Day.
In 2021, the Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation awarded $16,000 to seven students pursuing an agriculture-related degree. The scholarship program is designed to provide college students pursuing a degree in agriculture, agribusiness, or agriculture-related course of study. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholastic ability and financial need.
The Foundation is accepting scholarship applications until February 15. Additional information as well as a link to the application is available at https://cookcfb.org/foundation/college-scholarships.
Cook County Farm Bureau remains committed to educating youth about agriculture. During the 2019-2020 school year, Agricultural Literacy presenters connected with nearly 18,500 Cook County youth in over 770 classrooms.
Teachers can request a free in-person or virtual presentation by visiting https://bit.ly/3ppna4E. Additional educational resources for teachers and families are available on the Farm Bureau’s website, cookcfb.org.
Support of local non-profits
As a non-profit itself, Cook County Farm Bureau is acutely aware of the power of non-profit associations and the tremendous outcomes that can occur when non-profit entities work together for a common outcome. To that end, Farm Bureau financially supported Wagner Farm in Glenview, Lake County Fair Animal Auction, Greater Chicagoland Food Depository, and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
Similarly, Farm Bureau has financially supported like-minded groups including the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, Illinois Specialty Growers, Cook DuPage Beekeepers Association, Chicago Farmers organization, and the Animal Agriculture Alliance.