Chicago Region Food System Fund Grants

Chicago Region Food Systems Fund

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Predicted Deadline
The next cycle for this opportunity is predicted based on past data. If you save this grant, we’ll notify you if there are any changes.

Next predicted deadline: Jun 30, 2023

Later predicted deadlines: Sep 30, 2023, Jan 31, 2024

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Nutrition & Healthy Eating Farms & Farming Food Access & Hunger Horticulture & Gardening

Applicant type: Nonprofit, Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Project / Program, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Counties in Illinois: Boone County, Bureau County, Carroll County, Cass County, Champaign County Show all

Location of residency: Counties in Illinois: Boone County, Bureau County, Carroll County, Cass County, Champaign County Show all


NOTE: Applications for Round One funding open in June 2023. Eligibility parameters and other details will be announced at that time. Applications for round two funding open in September 2023. Applications for round three funding open in January 2024.

Strengthening the food system and building a just future

Created in the early months of the COVID-19 crisis, the Chicago Region Food System Fund focuses on building resilience in the local food system, an area approximately 200 miles from Chicago. The Fund uses a reform and investment approach to support a more equitable, adaptive, and resilient Chicago region food system. This approach embraces experimentation, promotes BIPOC leadership and ownership, and encourages long-term collaboration.

The total support granted by the Fund is $11,438,150 to 156 non-profit organizations since June 2020. The Chicago Region Food System Fund announced an additional $10 million in funding in January 2023.

In addition to food-focused organizations serving farmers, growers, and advocates, the Fund supports a range of organizations, including but not limited to community associations like block clubs and houses of worship who consider food part of their mission, and local food businesses that bring food from farm to table.

Three Rounds of Grantmaking Through April 2024

Round One: Evolve the Food System

The only way to build an equitable food system of the scale needed to serve Chicago and its broad metropolitan region is to dismantle the current, highly extractive and inequitable system and replace it. The first round of funding in the upcoming cycle invests in organizations and projects that guide the system away from the current unsustainable, large-scale, commercial approach that rewards a small group of corporations and shareholders to one that encourages cooperative models and sustainability for both the land and livelihoods. Goals for round one include addressing corporate actors who are externalizing costs onto communities, workers, and the natural environment through polluting, exploitative, and greenhouse gas intensive practices; and building worker power to win rights, improve pay, and reform exploitative structures. 

Round Two: Grow Local and Regional Food System Resources

The Chicago region has a wealth of organizations growing, processing, and distributing food at various scales. These organizations need increased investment. The second round of funding will build on previous grantmaking by the Fund to continue building a resilient food system for the Chicago region. Goals for round two include identifying and addressing bottlenecks and barriers in building out equitable local and regional production and distribution capacity; increasing participation by those who have been marginalized in the system; and developing technology and other innovations to support new value chain and social movement integrations. Applications for round two funding open in September 2023.

Round Three: Prepare for Future Food System Emergencies

The COVID-19 pandemic taught organizations, growers, workers, and funders how an unprepared food system can respond to a sudden existential crisis. Such crises will only continue and worsen as climate change accelerates. The third round of funding applies the lessons of four years of emergency response to planning for future systemic shocks. Goals for round three include shifting away from charity towards solidarity—away from fat, sugar, and salt laden processed foods towards more nutritious foods including, culturally relevant local produce; building assets and opportunities—including employment and education—in communities served; expanding governance and leadership by BIPOC people; and helping the emergency food system to respond equitably to climate change impacts. Applications for round three funding open in January 2024.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Only 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscal sponsors are eligible to apply.
  • The Chicago Region Food Fund focuses on an area roughly 200 miles from Chicago.
  • Tribal nations located more than 200 miles from Chicago are eligible to apply if the Chicago region is part of their market.
  • Previous CRFSF grantees are eligible to reapply. 

This page was last reviewed April 21, 2023 and last updated April 21, 2023