Transitioning to a more regenerative agricultural system represents substantial economic and environmental benefit for both Illinois and the broader Midwest. Independent and regional producers currently seek alternatives to conventional methods to raise and produce food. Regenerative grazing for grass-fed beef production offers multiple potential benefits for Illinois farmers and communities.
From 2019 to 2022, the Wallace Center and Delta Institute partnered to research and document the current state of Illinois grass-fed beef value chains (Phase 1 – 2020), map the potential for and barriers to growth of the grass-fed sector in the greater Chicago area (Phase 2 – 2021), and incentivize and support the expansion of regenerative grazing in target watersheds (Phase 3 – 2022). Both organizations have long worked to support transitions to regenerative agricultural practices that improve Illinois’ impaired waterways and ecosystems and mitigate the state’s broader contributions to climate change.
Our long-term vision is the creation of a robust local grass-fed marketplace that provides enough market drivers for farmers to adopt or incept regenerative farming methodology in the greater foodshed, while providing Chicago consumers with high quality, local, regeneratively produced grass-fed beef.
The State of Grass-Fed Value Chains in Illinois Story Map >>
Read more about Pasture Project and Delta Institute’s work to research and document the current state of Illinois grass-fed beef value chains and the potential for growth of the grass-fed sector.
Accelerating Regenerative Beef Value Chains in Key Chicago Area Watersheds >>
Explore four reports that map our process for selecting priority watersheds, describe our analysis of grazing transition potential, outline our recommended interventions to increase grass-fed production and facilitate institutional procurement.
Beginner’s Guide to Direct Marketing Meat >>
Learn all about direct marketing through this interactive resource guide. The guide contains resources that are organized to help a farmer determine how direct marketing meat can work for their farming enterprise.
We extend our appreciation to Delta Institute, and the many farmers, restaurant owners, and other collaborators who have assisted us in our market development and analysis efforts.
Generous long-term support for this project was provided through Food:Land:Opportunity, an initiative of Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust, funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.