Kane County is conducting a needs assessment and survey of the county’s food farmers and is ready to pay $50 apiece for folks to participate.
The County Development and Community Services Department and its Growing for Kane Initiative partners would like to ensure that future planning projects and program services are designed to reflect the needs of food producing farmers.
The assessment includes a $50 payment to any Kane County food farmer who completes a survey. There’s a limit of one survey per farm operation.
“Our community of farmers, has been immensely engaged and supportive of previous planning and program efforts to build a healthy and accessible local food system,” said Kane County Land Use Planner Matt Tansley.
The Growing for Kane Report and ordinance, approved in 2013 by the County Board, provide the justification and direction for Kane County to support efforts such as these, aimed at increasing production of locally grown foods and improving channels of access to healthy, local foods within Kane County communities.
The Food Hub Feasibility Study, completed in 2016, demonstrated a significant market opportunity for aggregating local produce from Kane County farmers and selling it to regional buyers.
Following an operator search, the food hub was launched in 2018 as the distributor for a pilot project called The Fresh & Local Prescription Program, which delivered fresh produce to patients at Rush Copley Hospital.
Food hub operator Dream Hub is pursuing new opportunities to supply institutional buyers with locally grown foods during the 2019 season.
“Moving forward we hope to refine and improve the support opportunities offered to farmers through the Growing for Kane initiative,” Tansley said. “To do so we are interested in learning more about the challenges and obstacles faced by Kane County farmers in achieving their farm goals.
“We are conducting this farmer needs assessment to determine what types of programs, training, and services the county can provide to support their operations. We are working with our consulting partner, New Venture Advisors, to conduct interviews and surveys of farmers in order to develop recommendations in this area.”
Food farmers can participate in this brief, 15- to 20-minute survey by following this link. Respondents will receive a $50 check for completing the survey.
The check will be made payable from the county’s non-profit partner, Seven Generations Ahead. Information from this survey will shape the types of services provided to farmers in the county, and all are encouraged to share the survey link with any Kane County farmer networks.
Respondents have the option to answer the survey anonymously, but a name and mailing address is required to receive the $50 check. Please only fill out one survey per farm operation. The survey will close on Monday, May 6.
In consideration of business operators, all individual survey responses will be kept confidential upon request. In the survey please mark that your responses include “proprietary, privileged, or confidential information” which will ensure that no information identifiable to your farm/business be made public.