Real Food Happens Here

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(March 22, 2012) Presentation at the 2012 Illinois State Section Spring Conference for the American Planning Association (APA).

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Real Food Happens Here

  1. 1. Real Food Happens HereLocal Food Infrastructure, Programs, and Projects in Urbana-Champaign Todd Sweet Director, Common Ground
  2. 2. History• Urbana, IL• Founded in 1974• Moved to current location in mid-2008• 3,550 Owners (last I checked)• $60 equity investment• 45 full and part-time employees• One of the fastest growing grocery co-ops in the nation past four years
  3. 3. Voice of the Owners
  4. 4. Mission Statement (Our “Ends”)1. The co-op is the center of a vibrant, inclusive community2. The cooperative movement is strengthened3. The co-op serves as an educational resource on food issues4. Our local food chain is more equitable, robust, and environmentally sound.
  5. 5. Local (&Regional) Defined 32 Local Sources 23 Regional Sources
  6. 6. Educating Consumers
  7. 7. Intertwined Common Ground Sales80% Regional & Other Products 20% Local Products
  8. 8. Economic Impact$3,500,000 80% 70%$3,000,000 $2,914,751 70% 64% 60%$2,500,000 $2,204,348 50%$2,000,000 38% $1,599,813 40% Sales$1,500,000 32% % Growth 30% $975,739$1,000,000 20% $573,225 $500,000 12% 10% $- 0% 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  9. 9. On the Horizon: Expansion!• Construction starts April 1, 2012• $2.5 million total project budget• $1 million raised from owners• 250% increase in retail sq ft to 5,580• Projected sales $5.6 million in 1st year• 65 FT/PT employees post-expansion
  10. 10. Breadth & Depth
  11. 11. Threats?• Demand is obviously there, but will supply keep pace?Bottlenecks: • Cost of farmland • Availability of farmland (zoning?) • New farmers • Regulations
  12. 12. Opportunities?• Local food is huge economic development opportunity• $2.3 billion spent by agriculture industry in Central IL buying inputs from outside the region.¹• $3.9 billion spent by Central IL consumers on food from outside our region.¹¹ Source: Ken Meter at Common Ground Co-op Grocery — Urbana, Illinois (September 10, 2011). Facilitator forstrategic planning session involving local planning, economic development officials and city council members, along withlocal foods leaders.
  13. 13. Thanks! Todd Sweet tmsweet@gmail.comPresentation available at: http://toddsweet.com

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