Re-Integration of Mixed-Power Systems in Agroecological Intensification

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2024: $49,248.00
Projected End Date: 04/30/2026
Grant Recipient: Illinois State University
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:
Ruth Burke
Illinois State University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

This proposal establishes community through the re-integration of
sustainable mixed-power livestock and crop systems, addressing
critical environmental and land concerns by increasing
biodiversity and restoring resilient farming environments in
McLean County, IL. Partners will work collaboratively to
cultivate and apply mixed-use power systems to prairie
pollinator/native plant plots (PNPP) at three small farms, and
flagship public demonstration site
at the Illinois State
University Horticulture Center (ISUHC)
. To empower Partners
and the broader public, community-building and discovery will
occur through two public farmer-led field days, ongoing expert
and peer-to-peer training, workshops, and field trips, among
other activities. We aim to reconnect people with sustainable
methods of establishing biodiversity and increase the awareness
of healthy food production on small farms in our county. The
importance of this project is related to biodiversity and farming
community but is also site-specific:
in the 1820's, teams of oxen “prairie breakers” removed native
prairie to make way for human-directed agriculture in Central
, an economy now dependent on specialized crop
production. The specialization of crops changed farmer’s
relationship to labor and time but came with environmental cost.
200 years later, how might we use mixed-power systems to
regenerate ecologically diverse communities, soil, and land?


Project objectives from proposal:

Objective: to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity
and healthy food systems in Central Illinois through events and
the mixed-power establishment of two PNPPs and two PNPP earthworks
(“art that is made by shaping the land itself or by making forms
in the land using natural materials).
PNPPs create pollinator
habitat, enhance soil health, and balance pest and pathogens
using livestock/crop integration. We aim to provide Partners and
target audiences the skillsets and knowledge to implement
sustainable, mixed-power practices in their farms and their
homes, and to foster resilient community infrastructures that
exist beyond the project duration.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.