SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley was recognized by the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education yesterday with the Perry Schneider Award of Special Recognition for his leadership in advancing agriculture education in Illinois. The Perry Schneider Award of Special Recognition is awarded to individuals for their contributions supporting, improving and expanding Illinois agricultural education.
During his remarks to Ag Day Luncheon attendees at the Illinois State Fair on Tuesday, where the recognition ceremony was held, Ribley highlighted the work the state is doing to build the local agriculture sector and create jobs for the future.
“It’s an honor to receive this award from ILCAE,” Dir. Ribley commented. “Illinois' roots are in agriculture. We are investing in opportunities that preserve its heritage, but also builds on the success of our past to create a more diversified and productive future.”
Through DCEO, the state has been focusing investments on developing and expanding high-growth sectors like agriculture, including training Illinois workers in these 21st century occupations, promotion of local foods and infrastructure investments to quicken the innovation in these sectors.
To grow jobs in the small agriculture sector, DCEO's targeted investments have been in the areas of diversification, production, processing and entrepreneurship.
In October of 2010, DCEO partnered with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to identify obstacles and bottlenecks in the State’s existing local foods sector and develop strategies for expanding both the production and utilization of local foods. DCEO is in the initial phase of developing a plan to address these bottlenecks and grow the local food sector within Illinois.
"People are more aware of the benefits of having a healthy local food supply chain, and stronger government mandates regulating how much food is purchased from local sources, creates urgency in addressing these issues. We’re working on a number of fronts to break down barriers that are inhibiting growth within the local ag sector and that will help create jobs," Ribley continued.
The award preceded the director’s announcement later in the day that seven organizations will received nearly $1.85 million in Food Scrap Composting Revitalization & Advancement (F-SCRAP) grants to fund projects that will divert food scraps and other organic material from Illinois landfills for composting. F-SCRAP grants are provided by the Solid Waste Management Fund, which is supported by fees collected on solid waste put in landfills in Illinois. A complete list of grant recipients is below.For more information on the state’s economic development initiatives, visit www.ildceo.net.
2011 F-SCRAP Grant Recipients
|Kreider Services, Inc.
||This not-for-profit group will develop a food scrap collection and composting processing program targeting material from their own operation and other local generators, including all five public schools in Dixon, Illinois. Grant funds will be used to purchase an in-vessel food composter, collection containers, finished compost packaging equipment, and to pay for the development of a concrete pad to place the in-vessel composter. This project is expected to divert nearly 100 tons of food scraps annually and lead to the creation of several new jobs for which applying veterans will be given preference.|
|North Central College
||This college will implement a food scrap collection project at their dinning hall. Grant funds will be used to purchase food scrap collection containers, a container dumper, and pay for project necessary site improvements.|
||This long serving Chicago based environmental not-for-profit organization, will expand their food scrap composting collection efforts. Grant funds would be used to purchase two smaller, maneuverable and more fuel-efficient side-loading collection vehicles. The project will target servicing clusters of restaurants and businesses in the Chicago Loop and Chicago's near north side and near south side areas. The project is expect to divert more than 3,000 tons of food scraps annually and is expected to lead to the creation of three new full time jobs.|
|Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois - Food Scrap Collection/Composting at Danville Correctional Center
||The U of I will partner with the Danville Correctional Center (DCC) to develop a food scrap collection and processing project at the Danville Correctional Center (DCC). DCC serves 42,000 meals weekly and this project would divert 218 tons of food scraps annually. Grant funds would be used to purchase bins, vermicomposting worms, tools, and a manure spreader. Food scraps will be blended with scrap fiber generated at DCC to produce finished compost that will be applied to a garden area at the prison. This project will provide additional work opportunities for inmates and will also serve as a laboratory for courses taught by the U of I at the DCC.|
|L H F Compost, Inc.
||This established composter in Peoria County and will expand their food scrap processing capabilities. Grant funds will help pay for the construction of a structure that will protect decomposing material from excessive moisture and freezing, thus allowing for year-round operations and greater volume of food scraps being composted. The project is expected to process and additional 2,000 tons of food scrap material and would lead to the creation of one new full time job.|
|Land and Lakes Yard Waste Reclamation, Inc.
||Land and Lakes Yard Waste Reclamation, Inc., the largest windrow composter in Illinois,will expand their food scrap compost processing capabilities. Located on the south side of Chicago, this permitted facility accepts food scrap material generated in the Cook, Will, DuPage and Lake Counties area. Grant funds would be used to purchase a windrow turner. This project is expected to process an additional 4,000 tons of food scrap material and lead to the creation of two new full time jobs. In addition, the project would also allow five seasonal workers who currently work nine months a year to be employed year round.|
||The Plant, Chicago's first vertical farm will use its grant funds to develop a food scrap collection program and purchase an anaerobic digester and combined heat and power system (CHP) with an electric capacity of 380 kW. Not only will food scraps be saved from the landfill and turned into electricity at The Plant, but restaurants and other larger food-related businesses in the Chicago area will also be disposing of their food scrap material they generate. What was once thought of as "food waste" will now help "feed" the digester which then powers The Plant. The Plant, currently under renovation, will also serve as a green business incubator, with plans for a bakery, brewery and aquaculture products, and will anchor the urban renewal of the Yard neighborhood.|