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The Growing for Kane Program (Ordinance No. 13-240) is the implementation mechanism by which Kane County and its partners advance the recommendations of the Growing for Kane Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The HIA report provides guidance, through recommended policy and actions, for increasing the supply of locally grown healthy foods, benefiting farmers and supporting networks that supply healthy food options.


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​​​Food Hub Project

Background Information

One of the recommended actions to emerge from the HIA report was for Kane County to work with community partners to study the feasibility of locating a food hub within the county. Such an enterprise would meet the wholesale distribution needs of local growers and food buyers, while also supporting communities with limited access to produce and other fresh foods. According to the USDA, a food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and/or marketing of source-identified agricultural products primarily from local and regional producers in order to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. In 2015, Kane County formed a Project Team to draft a Food Hub Feasibility Study, which included key staff, community partners, and lead project consultant, New Venture Advisors.

In 2016 Kane County completed the feasibility study which assessed market conditions, identified strategies to improve healthy food access and evaluated a hub’s overall financial viability. Beginning in 2017 the Project Team began working to identify a qualified operator to manage the food hub. The selected operator will have the opportunity to work with the Project Team’s consultant to prepare a customized and comprehensive business plan at no cost.

The Food Hub Project Team will undertake a series of actions outlined below to ensure the selection of a qualified operator and to provide the necessary resources and information to enable the future operator to be successful. Those near-term actions include conducting a Site Search Request for Information (RFI) and an Operator Request for Proposals (RFP).

Site Search Request for Information (RFI)

Kane County has compiled a list of buildings that might be suitable to house a food hub, currently anticipated to be in operation within the next few years. The Food Hub Project Team is making the list available to assist potential operators in developing their proposals. This list was generated from respondent submittals to Kane County's Site Search RFI. It is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of commercial spaces and operator candidates are welcome to consider other facilities that would best suit their needs and vision for a food hub enterprise in Kane County.

Respondents to the Site Search RFI were asked to consider a set of criteria typically required of the size and scale food hub detailed in the Project's Feasibility Study. Those criteria included but were not limited to:

  • Building size: Buildings of between 4,000 and 12,000 square feet with a ceiling height of 25’+. 
  • Basic operation: Space uses would include cold storage, dry storage, office and processing equipment. 
  • Docks and parking lot: 2-3 loading docks w/ a 20’ bay. Approximately 20 parking spaces and lot area to accommodate the turning radii of a semi-truck.


At this time the Project Team is no longer accepting site submissions in response to the RFI. Follow the link below to view the list of submitted facilities and accompanying details. The site locations can also be viewed in the map below.

RFI Site List Document​

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Operator Request for Proposals (RFP)

Kane County is seeking to identify and partner with an owner / operator to manage the food hub to be established in the county.  The Food Hub Project Team has received proposals from two candidates seeking to be the operator of the Food Hub. The Project Team began reviewing the proposals and screening the applicants in April and will begin a formal interview process in May. A staff Selection Committee will conduct the candidate interviews and will make a recommendation to the County Board for a selected operator.

Below is a timeline of steps for the operator selection process.

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017: RFP Submission Deadline for operator candidates. 
  • Spring 2017: Finalists notified and invited to participate in the interview process.
  • Early Summer 2017: Selection Committee to issue an operator recommendation.
  • Late Summer 2017: Kane County Board to review and approve recommended operator to enter into a memorandum of understanding.
  • Fall 2017: Selected operator to begin working with project consultant to draft a business plan.

 

Kane County will have no long-term, formal role in the development, funding and operations of the food hub. The County’s role in overseeing the project will come to a close as soon as an operator is selected through the RFP review process. The eventual operator will sign a memorandum of understanding with the county affirming a set of commitments outlined in the RFP for both parties.
For additional information, please contact the Kane County Purchasing Department at purchasing@co.kane.il.us.

Reference Documents

​​Growing for Kane Newsletter
​​Growing for Kane Newsletter Sign Up