Local foundation launches new farmlink website

The Liberty Prairie Foundation recently launched the Northeast Illinois FarmLink website, the first resource of its kind in our region. This exciting new site is designed to help local agriculture in the area survive and thrive.

Northeast Illinois FarmLink is a website where farmers looking for land and farm landowners looking for farmers can efficiently find each other. Like similar sites around the country, farmers and landowners create detailed profiles and post them for free. In addition, the website features a selection of the best information and resources from around the country on various topics related to finding farmland, leasing, negotiating, conservation easement, etc. Users can also find links to service providers. The site serves 10 counties in the region: Boone, Cook (suburban), DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

The Liberty Prairie Foundation is a private operating foundation located in Grayslake, Illinois.  Through its programs, the Foundation works with many partners to improve the health of land, water and communities in northeastern Illinois. The Foundation promotes sustainable food farming through farm-based educational programs, farm enterprise incubation, food policy reforms, community food justice initiatives and its farmland access project.

Nathan Aaberg, Director of Conservation and Working Lands at Liberty Prairie Foundation, said the organization created this website to help local agriculture flourish in northeastern Illinois.

“It’s been clear to us and many other public and private entities in the area that local food farmers and landowners were having a very hard time finding each other,” Aaberg said. “And because so much of the farmland in northeast Illinois is leased out by non-farmers, those connections are critical.” 

Aaberg said the Northeast Illinois FarmLink site was informed by other farmlink sites around the country as many have sprung up over the last several years to address local and regional challenges associated with farmers and landowners finding each other.

“Our goal is to enable farmers and farmland owners to connect more easily and efficiently than would be otherwise possible,” he noted. “We expect that this website will communicate to food farmers elsewhere that the greater Chicago area is a welcoming place for them to bring their passion, values and experience. We hope farmland owners will be inspired to seek out the best possible stewardship of their land over time as well.”

The site was funded through Food:Land:Opportunity – Localizing the Chicago Foodshed. Funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Food:Land:Opportunity is a collaboration between Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust. As an incentive for people to take a chance on the Northeast Illinois FarmLink website, the first 100 farmers and farmland owners who post profiles on the site will be the Foundation’s guests at a gathering with local beer, other refreshments, and music this coming winter! Check out the site here.