Lincoln Land Community College developed a four course certificate program/ in value-added local food. The curricula teaches creative cooking with locally produced food as well as explores new entrepreneurial opportunities. This provides area farmers with the resources needed to either develop new businesses or find business partners in sustainable food production. The Value-Added program has also helped expand food product lines for existing businesses, facilitated the foundation of new businesses and advanced the skills for current food service workers.
To help area farmers grow sustainable food year round, LLCC conducts research and offers educational opportunities in high tunnel systems (unheated greenhouses). Concentrating on value-added products in the winter strengthens the farmer’s financial sustainability through an increased income source and increases their customer base.
In addition, LLCC is a founding member of Grow Springfield, a network of urban growers and community gardens. This network works to increase community gardening and urban agriculture through educational programs, conferences, garden tours, seed swaps and sustainable food dinners.