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The Blackhawk Buddy House has been packed the last two days with eggcellent crafts. On Thursday, the younger children dyed eggs with natural dyes, made with coffee, tumeric, onion skins, cumin, cabbage and hibiscus flowers. Over 38 children came from Blackhawk Courts housing project to dye their eggs. It was a bustling kitchen!

Practitioners of farmer training in Illinois – farmers, educators and others from farmer associations, community colleges, nonprofits, universities, farm incubators, university extension, state and federal agencies, and more – are invited to gather and consider questions critical to our local food and farm economy on April 14th.

We in the On-Farm Initiative are so excited about a special course we're offering at the end of this summer. For the first time, we're hosting a 10-day Permaculture Design Certificate class. We hope that this unique, intensive course will inspire and equipment students with all kinds of skills and knowledge for taking care of the earth and creating healthy, resilient food systems. (You can register here!)

We're welcoming Wayne Weiseman of the Permaculture Project to the farm as our instructor. To get to know him a bit better, we asked him some questions...

When I received a text at 2:41 PM saying Nike was in labor, I was sad that we were going to miss the birth of yet another baby goat! Little did I know that we would do more than witness the miracle of a birth, but assist in a complicated delivery.

We’ve all changed just a little bit in the off-season, and grown outward, upward, or inwardly. Youth Leaders and apprentices who were, before, slightly tentative, have stepped forward with a fresh confidence and focus. Younger youth, like Kijuan, have started to craft their special, unique-snowflake selves and shown us how they can be a valuable part of the team.

Look who arrived with the spring weather!

See who won the Beginning Farmer of the Year Award and Mentor Farmer of the Year Award at the Good Food Festival!

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

February 28th CRAFT members gathered at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin for the annual CRAFT Open Meeting! Learn more about the meeting details, the first CRAFT Field Day of the year "Rightsizing Your Farm" panel discussion and a QuickBooks Recordkeeping workshop which also took place at the meeting.

The Learning Center is proud to be co-sponsoring a first ever "Farm Dreams" workshop in Spanish! Please let any Spanish-speaking farm dreamers know that there are still spots available in the session on Saturday March 8th from 10-4.

In early January this year, April Yuds accompanied three staff members of Angelic Organics Learning Center as the farmer representative to the first ever North American CRAFT gathering at Hawthorne Valley Farm in New York State.

Angelic Organics Learning Center is proud to be co-sponsoring The Right to Food Conference with Vandana Shiva in April!

One of the biggest hurdles to starting and growing a farm business is finding the money to do so. Financing any new business, let alone a farm, can be hard to do and requires a ton of time putting together business plans and completing loan applications.

Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Upper Midwest Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) are recognizing beginning farmers and their mentors with the 2nd annual Beginning Farmer of the Year award.

Would you like to support sustainable agriculture by investing in farmland managed by Angelic Organics?

See why Angelic Organics Learning Center is one of the region's favorite spots for memorable and educational field trips!

Local artist and studio art instructor Lily Picot has been fascinated with the insect world for as long as she can recall. As a young girl growing up in North Carolina, she would perch next honeysuckle plants, studying bumblebees and marvelling at their furry bodies.

AOLC is excited to announce a brand new Farmer Training program: The Farm Asset Builder Program! This program was a long-time coming, and many hours of hard work went into making this program a reality.

Angelic Organics Learning Center, Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts again present the Urban Livestock Expo on February 22, 2014 from 10AM to 1PM at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W 111th Street in Chicago.

Support Rockford youth - reserve your 2014 Youth Farm CSA Shares today!

Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), along with 12 other CRAFT farmer alliances from across North America, met at Hawthorne Valley Farm Jan 2-4 in Ghent, New York, for an inaugural in-person meeting of CRAFT farmers and coordinators. This special meeting happened in conjunction with, and was hosted by, the Farm Beginnings Collaborative, a network of 9 US nonprofits--including Angelic Organics Learning Center--that offers the Farm Beginnings strategic farm business planning program to their farmer networks.

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