The slow but steady rise of organic agriculture in Woodford and Tazewell Counties creates a unique economic development opportunity in Greater Peoria. At the latest GP Farm Forum in February, organic producers and other agriculture stakeholders came together to discuss the opportunities and challenges of building a regional supply chain to support the increased organic production in the region.
Without an intentional and coordinated regional and statewide approach, organic farming may eventually largely resemble its conventional counterpart, thereby missing out on an opportunity to generate greater regional economic development. For many organic farmers and the growing network of regenerative agriculture proponents in Central Illinois, a retooling of the supply chain is necessary to benefit from the core regenerative functions of organic practices and to retain more economic activity within our region.
Regenerative agriculture practices aim to bring a multidimensional framework to the agriculture industry—one that considers the triple bottom line of farming and not solely focused on producing the greatest quantity at the lowest price. But to achieve and maintain the numerous goals of regenerative farming—from rebuilding soil health, to mitigating climate change, to contributing to rural community and economic development—many regional supply chain gaps need filling.
Watch the full Farm Forum here to see the discussion that ensued around this topic.
We learned a great deal from our panelists and the audience at the Farm Forum about how our organization can be a partner in growing this emerging agriculture sector. We look forward to finding ways to be a useful resource and partner for organic farmers and the numerous other ag stakeholders in the region pursuing opportunities to diversify and innovate Greater Peoria’s agriculture industry.
A special thanks to Beck’s Hybrids for hosting the GP Farm Forum at their facility in El Paso. We are grateful for your support of community and economic development in Greater Peoria!