Funded projects

Grants • Learning and Evaluation Investments

Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance

The Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance (FPFA) connects small, local farmers through a network of farm-based hubs to distribute and market their products. The hubs use an innovative approach to aggregate crops from neighboring farms and leverage existing structures to store and stage crops for regular truck pickups, reducing shipping costs. The Alliance of farmers, businesses and nonprofits is anchored by a distribution and marketing partner who is contributing an existing warehouse, refrigeration facilities, information technology, marketing, and a delivery fleet.

In the first year, Fresh Picks Farmers Alliance successfully launched three hubs at All Grass Farms, PrairiErth Farm and Springdale Farm. Grant funds have been used to upgrade and expand facilities and support sales and distribution as well as a technology platform for the hub system.The FPFA has already documented a 67 percent reduction in transportation costs through this system. In 2018, the Alliance plans to add two additional hubs and upgrade washing/packing facilities at all hubs. These on-farm upgrades make farms eligible for GAP food safety certification, required by many wholesale buyers. The Alliance will also implement a marketing plan to effectively differentiate the organic crops grown by Alliance farmers from other crops in the marketplace, building brand awareness and telling the story of the health, economic, and environmental benefits of supporting small local organic farmers.

Read more about food hubs.

The Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance was a finalist in the Food to Market Challenge. The Challenge inspired many creative and compelling projects to address the supply chain practices that limit the creation of a resilient local food system. In addition to the top award, Food:Land:Opportunity created a special grant to recognize and support the four finalist teams.

This project supports these strategic goals:

  • Equip farmers and food entrepreneurs with necessary skills.
  • Grow networks of farmers.
  • Grow networks of supply chain players.
  • Disseminate learning to position Chicago as a national model.
  • Incentivize innovation to address systemic problems.


Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks

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Angelic Organics Learning Center

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All Grass Farms

Central Illinois Produce

PrairiErth Farm

Prairie Fruits Farm

Springdale Farm

Triple S Farm


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Kinship Foundation

Lenore Beyer
Director of Conservation Programs

The Chicago Community Trust

Michael Davidson
Senior Program Officer

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