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February 27, 2015
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Grant to fund community health projects in Kane County


In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Planning Association and the American Public Health Association have awarded Kane County a project grant as part of the 

National Dissemination and Implementation program. According to the grant RFP these funds will allow, "APA to bring support to local coalitions in efforts to reduce chronic disease in communities across the United States, and represent the first time APA has been able offer monetary resources to promote public health." All grant recipients' proposals must address at least one of the following determinants of chronic disease: inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco or lack of access to preventative care.


The Kane County Planning Cooperative partners (Development, Health and Transportation) will use the grant funds for projects and program activities promoting public health. The grant funds will be administered by the Illinois Chapter of the APA and will be utilized for the following projects:

  • Kane County Healthy Communities Workshop
  • Fit Kids 2020 Plan Implementation
  • Food Hub Feasibility Study - Phase II
  • Walkability Studies

For more information abou  t this opportunity, please contact the lead author of the grant proposal, Jackie Forbes with the Kane County Health Department.

GreenTown Sustainability Conference Engages Fox Valley Community Partners


GreenTown Conference returns to Aurora promoting healthier, sustainable communities in the Fox River Valley



After seven years the annual GreenTown Conference returned to Aurora yesterday under the theme of "building healthy, sustainable communities." The Roundtable Discussion panelists included Peter Skosey of Metropolitan Planning, Susan Malec-Mckenna of the Chicago Wilderness, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, Pete Wallers of Engineering Enterprises and Bob Dean of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The panelists discussed the transformative changes in attitude towards the Fox River Valley and the growing collective recognition of its value.  Two suggested approaches to promoting sustainable infrastructure included pursuing "value capture" strategies and new mechanisms for infrastructure funding.


GreenTown Core Planning Committee proposes Fox Valley Sustainability Network


As the conference was concluding, Gary Cuneen, Executive Director of Seven Generations Ahead, introduced the concept of a Fox Valley Sustainability Network (FVSN). The network would function to better coordinate projects and share knowledge to drive sustainability planning and implementation across the Fox Valley region.


Visit the GreenTown website to learn more about conferences and available resources. You can also sign up to receive information on upcoming conferences and other program updates.


MediaMedia Resources for Resiliency and Sustainability Planning

Resilient Communities: How can your city or town best prepare for unanticipated change?

Community Matters, a knowledge forum for the leaders of small towns and cities, released their latest podcast in January. The discussion is centered on facing the challenges of abrupt change in communities - be that a natural disaster or an economic downturn.


Michael Crowley, senior program officer, Institute for Sustainable Communities, and Christine Morris, chief resilience officer with the city of Norfolk, Virginia, join CommunityMatters for an hour-long conference talk to share ideas and lessons learned from building resilient communities.


Cities Impact and Adaptation Tool


University of Michigan Climate Center staff Dan Brown and Ashlee Grace will walk through how to use the newly released "Cities Impacts and Adaptation Tool," a decision support tool that helps practitioners throughout the Great Lakes region integrate climate information into their planning, policy and infrastructure decisions. This webinar will demonstrate how to use the tool's three unique features: a location-specific climate information report, an interactive peer networking map, and an adaptation strategy database with over 500 adaptation strategies identified. 


For more information on sustainability practices in Kane County, please visit the county's sustainability website, Sustain Kane, or contact Cecilia Govrik, Resource Management Coordinator at GovrikCecilia@co.kane.il.us.


BrunnerForest Preserve Explores Food Farming at Brunner Property

The latest on bringing more local foods to Kane County


The Kane County Forest Preserve is looking to lease a portion of the land from the Brunner Family Forest Preserve to an area food farmer. The property, located just off Route 31 between West Dundee and Algonquin, has previously functioned as a working corn and soybean farm. The prospective lease holder is the owner and operator of a farm west of Barrington and is looking to transfer some food production and agricultural activities to the Brunner Forest Preserve property. Some of the food production activities to take place at the

 Brunner site could include raising beef cattle, fruit and vegetables production, dairy, poultry and egg production.


Increasing access to locally produced and healthy foods has been a priority

 for the county, a vision set forth in

 both the Kane County 2040 Plan and the Growing for Kane Health Impact Assessment. The Growing for Kane study, completed in 2013, included the results of interviews with farmers and other agriculture industry professionals. The cost of land and other resource inputs were identified as significant barriers to increasing local food production within the County. Surveyed farmers also recognized the leasing of public land as a preferred strategy for encouraging local production. Last year the Kane County Development Department and the Forest Preserve partnered with CMAP and Openlands to develop an evaluation toolkit for identifying public lands that could be leased for food farming operations - Growing Food in Kane County: A Guide to Evaluating Public Land for Local Food Production. The guide provides a set of criteria by which local policy makers might evaluate various public lands for their food farming potential.

The Kane County Forest Preserve manages roughly 5,000 acres of current or recently active farmland. If approved, the lease of the Brunner farm property could serve as a pilot program for other public lands with a history of agriculture to be utilized for food production within the county.


This article was originally posted on the Kane County Food and Farms 
blog page. For more information on Kane County local foods and agriculture please contact Matt Tansley, Planner at  

Community Gardens Boost the Kane County Harvest


More plots added annually, consistently at capacity


Communities throughout Kane County in locations from neighborhoods to churches are embracing community gardens. Kane County has about 1400 garden plots available for lease across the County, up from 800 in 2009. Even with the additional plots, a recent survey showed that on average, over 97% of all available plots were leased in 2014. Yields and plantings vary, but a garden plot can supply a family with $300 or more in fresh produce over the course of a season.  Fit for Kids, a consortium of groups working to reduce childhood obesity and active living supports this effort.  Science shows that more fresh fruits and vegetables provide can help to reduce obesity and improve health.

To learn more about opportunities for community gardening throughout Kane County visit the Making Kane County Fit for Kids webpage on gardening; or contact Fit Kids Coordinator, Janie Maxwell


Kane County Planning Cooperative
Matt Tansley, Planner - (630) 232-3493 
tansleymatthew@co.kane.il.us or kcplancoop@co.kane.il.us

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