Cook County Farm Bureau Supports the Community
Throughout 2022, Cook County Farm Bureau® has remained engaged with and committed to partnering with and supporting local farmers, students, and local non-profits.
Support for farmers
Cook County Farm Bureau continues to support farmers through marketing enhancement programs like Live Local, Shop Local, Discover Local guides, and Local Farm Products website search function all resources designed to connect consumers to farmers and local produce. These resources are available at cookcfb.org.
In addition to marketing tools, Farm Bureau supports local farmers through advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.
In 2022, Cook County Farm Bureau submitted two resolutions to Illinois Farm Bureau delegates. One resolution addresses changes to Farm Bureau’s Organic Agriculture policy including updates to the language concerning federal programs and support and certification and enforcement in an effort to modernize policy language. The second resolution addresses specialty crops and efforts to support and enhance the industry. In addition, the resolution addresses the need for specialty crop research, Extension services, pathologists, and entomologists to assist with the growth of the industry.
Food pantry support
Together with partners, Cook County Farm Bureau® donated much needed food staples and essential non-food items to six Cook County food pantries. Donations were raised in celebration of Food Checkout Day, which celebrates the healthy and nutritious food local farmers grow and raise by providing food or cash donations to people in need.
In light of the tremendous pressure created by COVID-19, in addition to launching Farm Bureau’s largest community effort to date, Cook County Farm Bureau matched members’ monetary donations. Over $11,000 was donated to local Cook County pantries in celebration of Food Checkout Day this year and the healthy and nutritious food grown and raised by local farmers.
In 2022, the Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation awarded $15,500 to six 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.
In addition to student scholarships, Farm Bureau provided two leaders scholarships to attend the Illinois Farm Bureau® Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT), and agricultural leadership development program. To date, twenty-one Cook County Farm Bureau leaders have graduated from the ALOT program.
Conservation and the Environment
Farm Bureau understands the importance of pollinators to our food system and ecosystem. Farm Bureau leaders designed a multi-faceted pollinator project to communicate farmers’ efforts to preserve and increase pollinator habitat as well as to illustrate the connection between pollinators and our food system to urban consumers. This project included the creation of a community pollinator garden at the Farm Bureau building; community presentations; pollinator garden community event; and large-scale community education event hosted in conjunction with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.
Cook County Farm Bureau’s pollinator efforts received national recognition from the American Farm Bureau Federation and was one of 143 projects submitted nationally to be named a County Activities of Excellence.
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, Lake County 4H Fair Animal Auction, Greater Chicagoland Food Depository, and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
A copy of the full report is available here.