Taking stock of the community's resources to support entrepreneurship growth and development is a critical element to creating a proactive environment for business development. Local Economic Development Organizations can take proactive approach to assisting existing and prospective business owners through permitting process, funding opportunities, and regional business resources. Creating a guide that covers the basics, from finding a location to outlining the permit process can be an valuable resource for new businesses.

Strengthening Local Food Systems

Although conversations are held nationally, many solutions are sought locally. Large urban centers garner most of the media attention in this sector, but small and mid-size cities play an important role in the United States' local food systems. Local residents, organizations, businesses, and governments all play a role in the food system—even if their parts are not always obvious!

Regional Economic Development in Fulton County

2015 Public Engagement Symposium | March 10

Sponsored by Office of Public Engagement and the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning

Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development, a non-profit organization in Fulton County, has collaborated with University of Illinois Extension and Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to promote economic development in the county.

Local Food Resource Guide

The food we eat has profound impacts on public health, environmental quality, economic development, and land use. Increasingly, activists, analysts, public health practitioners, farmers, consumer advocates, and policy makers agree that finding new solutions includes increasing access to local foods.

Creating a local Historic Commercial district is the focus of a UIUC Department of Urban and Regional Planning Capstone project. Marcia Klop, Graduate Student in Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UIUC is working with University of Illinois Extension, City of Washington Economic Developer, local businesses and historic preservation specialists from throughout the state in her study.

Prepared by Nancy Smebak, University of Illinois Extension Research Assistant, April 2015

This project documents and describes the food system in Peoria County and the surrounding region through participatory and analytic mapping and key informant interviews and videos. Case studies and academic research provide suggestions for improving profitability, equity, civic engagement, and health in the local food system.