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Jessie is next up on our series "The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators" created by Lauren Strug, our Duffy Community Partnerships Intern from Beloit College. When she is not leading on-farm programs, Jessie is Communications Coordinator for Angelic Organics Learning Center, which means she's our social media maven, perennial photographer, primary graphic designer, chief storyteller, and coordinator of this blog. Learn more about Jessie here!

On Valentine’s Day 2015, a happy crowd gathered at the Chicago High School for Agriculture Sciences for the 3rd annual Urban Livestock Expo. Sponsored by Angelic Organics Learning Center with partners Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts, the Expo offered visitors intensive sessions on raising chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, quails, honeybees, and solitary bees in their backyards.

    - Presenter Abe Lentner’s daughter Lucy showed off her ribbon-winning ducks.
    - Ryan Detwiler shared his enthusiasm for Coturnix quails (which he and husband Corey Gilson call “kitchen chickens”) while Corey greeted visitors eager...

    good food festival, chicago, farm hack

    Grab your lunch and come join farmers from around the regional foodshed in an open session to share your best farm hacks: innovative techniques and tools that you've developed or discovered to save time, energy and, of course, money. From root washers to chicken feeders, discuss your best ideas and systems, and present your prickly problems to other farmers.

    Next up in our blog series "The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators" is Joe Haverly, one of our newest On-Farm Educators. We're lucky to have him! Thanks to our Duffy intern Lauren Strug, who put together this series, you can get to know Joe.

    Here is the next installment in our ongoing series "The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators." Our Duffy intern Lauren Strug from Beloit College is conducting interviews with members of our On-Farm Educator team so that you can get to know the people who make our On-Farm Initiative happen. Read on to meet Josh, one of the newest members of our team.

    The Rockford Urban Initiative announces its 2015 Cares & Shares CSA program, coordinated by our committed Youth Leaders! Our 10-week summer share provides you with clean, healthy, dazzling vegetables (and sometimes melons!) every Wednesday, all of which is grown, harvested, and packed by Rockford youth.

    Snowy garden, George Washington Carver

    I find myself at the sleeping farm on 15th Ave in Rockford, Illinois. The scene and mood is sterile compared with the energy and hubbub of the summer growing season. I miss growing fresh vegetables, cooking with the youth leaders and the people that visit Blackhawk Courts Farm and Gardens. I try to wish the snow away, but then stop. Every season even a snowy winter is part of a grand scheme. Snowflakes as well as compost replenish our earth.

    Jessica Rinks, Purple Leaf Farm, Beginning Farmer of the Year Awar

    Locally grown produce and agriculture has seen a recent surge in popularity. Consumers enjoy a fresh, sustainable, and often organic product that supports their local communities. This demand for local food has encouraged more young people to take up farming as a career. One of these farmers, Jessica Rinks of Purple Leaf Farms, will be recognized with the 3rd annual Beginning Farmer of the Year Award at the opening symposium of the Good Food Festival & Conference on Friday, March 20, 10:15 AM at Chicago’s UIC Forum.


    This post is part of an ongoing blog series - The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators - created by Lauren Strug, our Duffy Community Partnerships Intern from Beloit College. Although Deb’s primary work is overseeing all of our initiative as the Senior Program Director, she also leads on-farm programs. Keep reading to learn more about Deb!

    How long have you worked at Angelic Organics?

    I started in 2004, so I’m starting my twelfth year.

    What experiences inform your work at the Learning Center?

    I’m the...

    Educator Randy using the cob oven at Angelic Organics Learning Center

    I’m Lauren and I am the Duffy Community Partnership intern at Angelic Organics Learning Center from Beloit College. I’m doing a series of interviews called “The Real Dirt on On-farm Educators” which highlight all the educators who teach classes at the Learning Center. Read on to learn more about On-Farm Educator, Randy!

    Microgreens from Wishful Acres Farm

     For the second year in a row, we're holding two special cooking classes for Valentine's Day, and this year, I was determined to include a locally-sourced salad. Now, with a couple feet of snow on the ground and temperatures in the single digits, growing fresh salad greens in no small feat, and it turned out that sourcing them wasn't easy, either.

    I started by asking our co-workers in the Farmer Training Initiative if they knew of growers in the CRAFT Network doing season extension (using row cover,...

    Martha Boyd of Angelic Organics Learning Center and Billy Burdett of AUA

    In search of a fun and informative Valentine’s Day excursion? What says "I love ewe" better than taking your date to the Urban Livestock Expo? Angelic Organics Learning Center, Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts will present the 3rd Annual Urban Livestock Expo on February 14, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHAS) at 3857 W. 111th Street in Chicago.

    The Expo offers new and experienced keepers of urban livestock the chance to learn about caring for a variety of animals, and to...

    Young Professionals Association, Chicago, organic

    We’re excited to announce the Young Professionals Association, or YPA, a new network that will help us build the local food system. The YPA is a group of energetic, young-at-heart professionals in their twenties and thirties who support the mission and programs of the Learning Center. YPA members work together to broaden the Learning Center outreach through the young professional community and raise funds to support Angelic Organics Learning Center.

    Roots & Wings home at Rockford Housing Authority

    Ever wonder where Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Rockford Office is located?
    For the last two years, we have been located on First Street, across from Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, but we are saying goodbye to that location.

    Angelic Organics, CSA, organic farm, mindfulness, benefits of walking

    It was the kick that I needed to change up my routine again and face the cold, northerly winds and get outside for a walk and tune my awareness to the voice of the farm.

    CRAFT Field Day at Tiny Tempest Farm

    On Tuesday, January 20th about 20 CRAFT members squeezed into Sheri Doyel’s home at Tiny Tempest Farm in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for the Small Farm Operations Panel Discussion. The field day was originally supposed to be in a more ‘farmy’ room in one of the barns but the heater was too loud and the room was too cold… So we took to the indoors.

    Garlic drying

    Guest blog by Jeff Hake, Farmer Training Program Manager, The Land Connection

    Although I’m not currently farming, I love reading industry rags. So when Vegetable Growers News showed up at our office recently, I was excited. Headlines like “Higher potato consumption goal of social...

    goat new year, cute farm animals, funny goats

    Curious, playful, smart, and stubborn are just a few of the adjectives describing one of the most entertaining animals in a farm. This year, however, goats are getting their moment in the sun as 2015 marks the Year of the Goat (and sheep) in the Chinese Zodiac. Angelic Organics Learning Center is offering several special programs to give the public an opportunity to spend time with these fun animals. Children have the chance to kid around with the goats at two upcoming spring events at Angelic Organics farm. Kidwatch is a full-day event on March 28 that gives children...

    Vernice King at the Eat to Live Garden in Englewood, E2L, urban agriculture, urban farming, chicago

    Angelic Organics Learning Center is excited to announce a generous grant from The Cedar Tree Foundation to support the Eat to Live (E2L) project in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Angelic Organics Learning Center and the E2L partners are installing an urban agriculture campus at the intersection of 70th Place and South Princeton Avenue, incorporating both an Urban Farm Incubator and a Community and Learning Garden.

    At the Learning Center, one of our guiding principles is that biological and cultural diversity are essential to the health of our world. We believe that having all kinds of living things on the farm is not just good and healthy, but necessary for our future.

    As the On-Farm Program Director, I'm always thinking about how to weave this important principle into our work, particularly when it comes to welcoming all kinds of people to the farm for our programs. How do we ensure that our program participants reflect the diversity in our communities? Since our programs are funded primarily...

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