Value-Added Sustainable Development Center

The Value-Added Sustainable Development Center (VASDC) extends IIRA’s rural community economic development work to the sectors of agriculture, food, energy, and community sustainability. VASDC helps farmers, non-farm rural businesses, and community leaders excel by providing technical assistance and research on topics such as value-added agriculture, local food systems, rural grocery stores, small meat processing operations, and community-owned businesses.

Program Initiatives

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Illinois Cooperative Development Center

The Illinois Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) helps cooperatives and other community-owned businesses in rural Illinois start-up and succeed through technical assistance, training, and publications. Cooperatives in all sectors of the economy are eligible for assistance.
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Project ReFED

The mission of the Regional Food Economic Development (ReFED) Project is to create economic growth in rural areas by providing business development assistance to beginning farmers, food processors, food hubs, food cooperatives, and independent grocers.
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Fresh Foods Markets

The Fresh Foods Markets program is designed to address the issue of the growing number of food deserts. It uses a combination of solid business practices, community social capital, and two decades of retail experience to create economically self-sustaining businesses that provide access to fresh food in communities that no longer have a fresh food retailer.
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Program Staff

Sean Park, Value-Added Sustainable Development Director, ms-park@wiu.edu, 309.298.1453

Kristin Terry, Cooperative Program Coordinator, kl-terry@wiu.edu, 309.298.2767

John Bannon, Local Food Program Coordinator, jr-bannon@wiu.edu, 309.298.2514