Farm Foundation Celebrates Groundbreaking of Innovation and Education Center

Construction on Chicagoland’s first food and agriculture innovation hub is underway, with Farm Foundation celebrating the groundbreaking of its Innovation and Education Center (IEC) in Libertyville, Illinois, on August 18, 2023.

Speakers at the Farm Foundation Innovation and Education Center groundbreaking ceremony dig a symbolic shovelful of soil.
Speakers at the Farm Foundation Innovation and Education Center groundbreaking ceremony dig a symbolic shovelful of soil.

About 75 attendees participated in the groundbreaking ceremony on Farm Foundation’s new farm campus, which was held between the iconic white barn and the legacy farmhouse. Speakers included U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider, Illinois’ 10th District, U.S. House of Representatives; Kurt Coffey, vice president of Case IH; and Dan Basse, Farm Foundation chairman. In attendance were also several members of the Casey family, who owned the centennial farm for over 140 years, some of whom also shared remarks.

Farm Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit is an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture. The IEC, located at 31330 North Milwaukee Avenue, will be a state-of-the-art facility housing experiential learning opportunities about food and agriculture for local, national, and global programs. New programming is already underway, with the recent launch of Farm Foundation’s AG 101 Bootcamps, the first of which was held earlier in August.

“If we are going to lead the way as a nation, especially in the face of climate change, we will need to lead the way of innovation,” said Representative Schneider during his remarks. “I think that’s one of the reasons that this facility is so important.”

In sharing the vision for the Farm Foundation’s farm campus and new building, Farm Foundation President and CEO Shari Rogge-Fidler said, “The seeds of this vision were planted nearly three years ago […] We at Farm Foundation are rooted in the past as we look to our bright future. This site similarly has a rich history that will serve as a wonderful foundation for us as we advance our future through the Innovation and Education Center.”

The 4,000-square-foot single-story building will enable Farm Foundation to bring its mission to life in new and transformative ways. It will feature an immersive multi-media room, gathering space, and a demonstration kitchen to facilitate small group gatherings and cooking demonstrations. It will also be Farm Foundation’s new home, replacing the office currently located in Oak Brook.

The IEC was designed by architecture firm Kahler Slater, and JLL is managing the project, working in concert with Summit Design + Build as general contractor. Construction completion is anticipated by Q2 2024.

For further information and additional photos from the groundbreaking ceremony, please access the media kit.

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