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           10 December, 2023

Category:  Press » Agriculture


Illinois Coop Receives USDA Grant to Promote Sales of Illinois Wool and Fiber Products

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2006-10-17 01:01:59     
The Illinois Green Pastures Fiber Cooperative

An initiative developed by The Illinois Green Pastures Fiber Cooperative to increase the sale of Illinois- produced wool and fiber products has received a USDA Rural Development grant to support the coop's marketing activities.

The grant, part of the USDA's Value-Added Producer and Small Minority Producer grant program, is for $180,000.

The primary use of the grant will be to showcase Illinois-produced fiber through sponsorship of a fiber art show - tentatively titled "From Pasture to Gallery: A Celebration of Fiber Arts in Illinois" and scheduled for next summer in the Chicago area. The intent, says Coop Executive Director Donna Lehrer, is to build awareness of Illinois-produced fiber products by working with fiber artists, galleries and museums, art shows, and schools and related organizations to create a venue that celebrates Illinois fiber.

Although the fiber art celebration is intended to be the culmination of the Coop's first year activities, The Illinois Green Pastures Fiber Cooperative will use its grant dollars to support several additional goals - including increasing Coop membership by bringing more producers into the Green Pastures program.

There currently are 2,500 shepherds in Illinois, but Lehrer says that existing agricultural organizations do little to promote the sale of fiber products.

The Illinois Green Pastures Fiber Cooperative also will develop effective means to help fiber producers tell their stories and share their passion with the community. Through the Coop, producers will have the ability to transform raw agriculture products - wool and other fibers - into a marketable end product. Development of a web site, networking resources and presentation materials will help Coop members reach a larger audience.

Overall, the Coop seeks to boost rural economies, promote Illinois- produced fiber and foster the producer-consumer connection.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College, Aurora, and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Macomb, are providing strategic planning and business development assistance for the project. Marketing assistance and consulting is provided by 121 Marketing Resources, Inc., Wheaton, and MalcolmWolf, a graphic design firm in Aurora. The Poznak Law Firm, Ltd., Oak Brook, is providing legal assistance.

Specialized in: Illinois Coop - Usda Grant - Wool - Fiber
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