Dialogues on the Future of Food, Farming and Conservation
Farmland is the most abundant land use in Northeastern Illinois. It can support habitat for important insects, and wildlife; improve water quality, flood control and climate mitigation; sustain livelihoods; and grow food for the region’s residents. For these reasons, as well as supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, the futures of food, farming and conservation are becoming increasingly interwoven in the farmland of Northeastern Illinois. In partnership with Openlands, Farm Foundation hosted a series of dialogues to bring together farmers, conservationists, planners, residents and business leaders alike to discuss current trends in farming and natural resource protection, and collaborate on how best to collectively shape future strategies and decisions around local land use together.
Project Steering Committee
Liberty Prairie Foundation
Illinois Department of Agriculture
Illinois Farm Bureau
American Farmland Trust
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Agri-Food Alliance
Audubon Great Lakes
The project was made possible through a grant from:
Funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Food:Land:Opportunity is a collaboration between Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust.
McHenry County Dialogues
Examining land use in McHenry County, Illinois and southern Wisconsin
Conversation 1: The State of Farmland in McHenry County
The geography and land use in McHenry County is a tapestry of productive agricultural lands, picturesque conservation properties, and small towns and larger cities. In this day-long conversation, attendees will discuss state and county data around land use, and the needs and challenges for agricultural producers in McHenry County today, as well as opportunities to support farming into the future.
Featured Speakers Include:
McHenry County Farm Bureau
Illinois Farm Bureau
Illinois Soybean Association
Check out the full agenda to see more information about planned topics and speakers.
We’ll explore topics vital to the region
- Is nature good for the local economy?
- What are some new ways to capture recreational spending?
- Did the pandemic change consumer demand for locally grown foods?
- What does the new Illinois cover crop funding offer farmers?
- How can open space and farmland coexist in a mutually beneficial way?
- And more! Attendees are encouraged to bring questions, comments and issues of interest to add to the discussion.
Register now for our first conversation
July 27, 2021
McHenry County Dialogues
Join us for a day of sharing and conversation around land use in McHenry County, including areas surrounding the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. This event will be held at the Holiday Inn Crystal Lake. Please follow event signs once you arrive. All state and local guidelines for gatherings will be followed. Registration is free but capacity is limited; click the button below to see the full agenda and reserve your spot. Lunch will be provided!
Joining us for an upcoming dialogue? Check out these resources to learn more about the conversation around land use as it relates to conservation, farming and food. Find general topic resources here as well as applicable information from the state level to the McHenry County area, including Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. Check back often, as new resources are being added all the time!
- Advancing Conservation Cropping Systems in Illinois [LINK]
- Illinois Assessment of Parks and Conservation Funding Needs and Economic Benefits [PDF]
- The Working Lands, Water and Wildlife Conservation Partnership—Illinois [PDF]
- S.T.A.R. (Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources) Annual Report [PDF]
- Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Podcast [LINK]
- Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Priority Watersheds [PDF]
- Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership Free Webinar Series for Farmers [LINK]
- Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Lands in Transition [LINK]
- CMAP Lands in Transition Strategy Paper [PDF]
- Chicago Wilderness Webinar Series [LINK]
- Illinois Specialty Crop Podcast Series [LINK]
- Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership 2020 Annual Report [PDF]
- Illinois Takes Big Regenerative Agriculture Steps [LINK]
- Forest Preserve and Conservation Districts in Northeastern Illinois: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century [PDF]
- Illinois Food Market Maker [LINK]
Search for farms and markets by location and type.
- McHenry County 2030 and Beyond – 2016 Update to the McHenry County 2030 Comprehensive Plan [PDF]
- Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) McHenry County Snapshot [PDF]
- McHenry County Census of Agriculture [PDF]
- Food Insecurity in McHenry County [LINK]
- McHenry County Community College Center for Agrarian Learning [LINK]
- Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Background [PDF]
- Proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Executive Summary: Environmental Assessment, Land Protection Plan, and Conceptual Management Plan, 2012 [PDF]
- Resolution in Support of the Establishment of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge [PDF]
- Hackmatack Map [PDF]
- Report to the National Climate Task Force: Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful [PDF]
- Report: U.S. Farmer Perspectives on Water [PDF]
- Quantifying Economic and Environmental Benefits of Soil Health [LINK]
- American Farmland Trust Transition Recommendations for USDA [LINK]
- Combatting Climate Change on U.S. Cropland [PDF]
- Carbon Reduction Potential Evaluation Tool [LINK]
- Promoting Soil Health on Protected Agricultural Lands [PDF]
- American Farm Bureau Federation: Sustainability in Agriculture [LINK]
- Zoning Limitations and Opportunities for Farm Enterprise Diversification [PDF]
- Grassland Birds: Fostering Habitats Using Rotational Grazing [PDF]
- Neonicotinoids and Decline in Bird Biodiversity in the United States [PDF]
- Research Report: Farmer Perspectives on Data 2021 [PDF]
- Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line [PDF]
- Growing for the Future: Business Lessons from Ag Retail’s Conservation Leaders [PDF]
- A Practitioner’s Guide to Conducting Budget Analyses for Conservation Agriculture [PDF]
- American Farmland Trust Report – Farms Under Threat: The State of the States Executive Summary [PDF]
- Farms Under Threat: The State of the States Project Technical Report [PDF]
- American Farmland Trust Report – Wildlife on the Working Landscape: Charting a Way for Biodiversity and Agricultural Production to Thrive Together [PDF]