Farm Foundation Launches Innovation and Education Campus


Farm Foundation®, an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture, is pleased to announce the official launch of the Farm Foundation Innovation and Education Campus (IEC), which will be located on the site of the historic Casey Farm in Libertyville, Illinois. The Farm Foundation IEC will be Chicagoland’s first food and agriculture innovation and education hub, providing industry-leading educational opportunities to a variety of stakeholders in the food chain, from farm to plate.

In early April 2022, Farm Foundation closed on the purchase of the 12-acre site from Openlands, a Chicago-based non-profit which protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and surrounding region. The farm was most recently a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) fruit and vegetable farm until 2019.

“We are thrilled to find this unique farm site in the Chicagoland area to bring our vision and mission to life,” says Shari Rogge-Fidler, CEO of Farm Foundation.  “We are eager to partner with other organizations to create meaningful experiences in our new innovation and education center.” 

In addition to the existing historic barn, the IEC will comprise a new facility which will house experiential learning opportunities about food and agriculture for local, national, and global programs.

Several acres on the property will serve as active laboratories for soil health, regenerative agriculture, and digital agriculture practices. The IEC will also house Farm Foundation’s headquarters and provide an indoor event space. On the campus, the Casey barn will be used as a three-season open-air event space, which will be adjoined by an open-air- amphitheater.    

“Farm Foundation was founded in Chicago nearly 90 years ago,” says Board Chair Jerome Lyman.  “We are proud of our historic ties to Chicago, our impact on the sector, and look forward to the role that our new site can play for the future of food and agriculture.”

Located within the 5,000-acre Liberty Prairie Reserve, Farm Foundation has entered into a conservation easement with Openlands, and specific protections will be put in place concerning the native oak habitat and nearby Bull’s Brook.

The project is currently in the design phase, with construction anticipated to begin in late fall 2022. Project completion is anticipated as early as the end of 2023.

HEADER IMAGE: Farm Foundation President and CEO Shari Rogge-Fidler shares the vision for the Innovation and Education Campus with members of the Farm Foundation Board. Farm Foundation closed on the purchase of the property in April 2022. Image credit: Farm Foundation

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