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Angelic Organics Farm Adventure Summer Day Camp entrepeneurs

Last week at Farm Adventure Day Camp, the campers faced new, exciting challenges each day - making products to sell to shareholders, caring for the livestock, building rafts to float on Kinnikinnick Creek, beautifying the garden, clearing trails and more. It was a large group of kids in this sold-out day camp, but they all worked together to brainstorm ways to meet their challenges and democratically choose solutions.

As people started tumbling out of cars I could see their faces light up as they took it all in. The kids didn't waste a second before scrambling over fences to pet the goats, running through the orchard, checking out the campfire, and gathering sticks. What is the deal with boys and sticks anyway?

Molly Bresline of Breslin Farms, a CRAFT farm

The morning after a series of thunderstorms and strong winds moved through northern Illinois, twelve CRAFT members traveled along miles of wind-damaged cornfields to convene at Breslin Farms to learn about how the Breslins incorporate cover crops into their rotations. While the Breslin’s rye field experienced wind damage, our hosts remained optimistic about being able to harvest the crop, speculating about its resiliency due to years of cover crop benefits—nicely prefacing the day’s conversation.

Father-and-daughter team John and Molly Breslin are in their fourth year of transitioning a family farm from conventional to organic row crops. They focus...

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It’s mid-year, and our Farm Asset Builder participants are well into their growing season. They have also reached the midpoint of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farm Asset Builder Program—a program in its inaugural year. The Farm Asset Builder Program is a matched savings program that provides farmers with the opportunity and motivation to save. At the end of our pilot year, farmers in compliance with program requirements will receive up to $2,400 to contribute to a farm asset thanks to our sponsors and donors.

Our sponsors are helping farmers gain...

Peak Harvest Farm Dinner at Angelic Organics 2013

The 7th annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner is the largest fundraising event for Angelic Organics Learning Center and there are many ways to contribute.

Farming with Horses 2014 CRAFT Field Day

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

Nestled in-between subdivisions, highways, and strip malls is the farm home of Lane Linnenkohl’s two Percheron draft horses: Molly and Sally and two Morgans: Daisy and Violet.  Lane keeps his horses at a farm that his cousin leases; his cousin uses this land to grow corn. A bank located just across the street owns this farm and Lane struck a nice deal with them. Instead of the bank having to pay someone to come in and brush hog the adjacent lots twice a year, Lane hays these fields free of charge. Lane uses...

Integrating Livestock into Vegetable Operations Field Day

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It was one of the first great, sunny, spring days of the year when CRAFT Farmers gathered with Matt and Peg Schaeffer in Monroe, Wisconsin to learn about Sandhill Family Farms' efforts to incorporate livestock into their vegetable farming operations. Sandhill Family Farms operates a well-known community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that serves the Chicago area, and Matt and Peg’s family recently obtained a herd of sheep to diversify the farm's offerings to customers in the fall.

Field day participants eagerly listened while Matt explained the importance of protecting and maintaining pasture in...

Summer camp season is upon us! We're getting ready for the best summer ever, full of farm-fresh snacks, adventures with goats and chickens, hikes through the woods, artworks by creative kids and so much more.  Check out our summer camp mini-gallery below for a taste of what's coming up on the farm.

And don't miss out! There are still a few spots left in some camps. Sign up now!

Roots & Wings, Urban Agriculture, Urban Farm, Urban Garden, Youth Leader, Angelic Organics Learning Center

As we quickly approach the beginning of the June, I am reminded that only few weeks ago we had an accumulation snow on the ground (Brrrrr….). Over the last few months much work has been done at the Roots & Wings Youth Farm and the Blackhawk Courts Farm and Garden in preparation for the growing season.

Over the years, Nellie has shown numerous goats at 4-H competitions and won many blue ribbons. She has also taken the Farm Leadership Camp several years, volunteered her help at many day camps (see photo below of her handing out hand-made gold medals for the farm Olympics she created), and currently works on the livestock crew. This summer, Nellie will be starting as a Junior On Farm Educator and helping share her immense knowledge of the livestock and her passion for farming with young kids.

Farm Beginnings Farm Finance Program Coordinator Meg Augustine Angelic Organics

Sunshine (well intermittent sunshine at least-- oh the joys of an Illinois spring), fresh air, happy goats, proud, industrious farmers, and a welcoming, knowledgeable staff. In a phrase, this has been my experience since the beginning of May when I took on the role of farm finance program coordinator at Angelic Organics Learning Center. What a fantastic, dedicated group of people. The enthusiasm is contagious, and the proximity of my office to the vegetable fields has given me an unexpected, yet welcomed round-the-clock craving for vegetables.

Angelic Organics CSA Rockford Chicago organic biodynamic vegetables

Angelic Organics CSA Rockford Chicago organic biodynamic vegetablesIf you love fresh, organic vegetables, Angelic Organics CSA Farm delivers to Chicago and Rockford, to a site conveniently located near you. Imagine, fresh from our fields, a Peak Season share with luscious sweet corn, vine ripe tomatoes, succulent peppers, glowing eggplant, sweet melons…then the fall crops: broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, winter squash…

By Kellie Laurson, On-Farm Initiative Program Assistant

As the clay seeped through the spaces between my toes, I felt connected.

Straw. Sand. Manure. Water. Hands. Feet. Heart.

This is the recipe for community as taught to me last weekend at a cob workshop, facilitated and hosted by Randy and Jessie Mermel, two of our beloved On-Farm Educators. I’ve had the opportunity to be at the Learning Center daily for over 2 years now as on-farm staff. The spirit of the place keeps me coming back. I love our food. I love our animals. I love our...

By Tom Spaulding, Executive Director

I am deeply saddened to report to you that Maizy the cow, the matriarch of the Learning Center's herd of Scottish Highland cattle, passed away this morning at 9 am. 

The cause of death is still unknown.  The vet took blood samples on Friday night and we will see if they reveal any information this coming week.  This all happened very suddenly.  Wednesday last week, she seemed normal.  Then, on Thursday, she had difficulty walking and little appetite, so I called the vet.  He discovered she had a prolapsed uterus and...

This blog was reprinted with permission from The Call of the Land by Stephen McFadden. In April, Vandana Shiva visited Angelic Organics. She quotes Farmer John in this lecture in Kansas City.

Last month, Roots & Wings Youth Leaders met with Beloit College students and Vandana Shiva at Beloit College. The Youth Leaders presented information about youth-led urban agriculture to the college students and then participated in a round-table discussion with esteemed activist, Dr. Vandana Shiva. See what the Youth Leaders thought about the experience.

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

    Monday, April 21st CRAFT members gathered at Montalbano Farms to get a detailed look into Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. It was a warm, windy day, threatening rain, so—first things first—farm tour! Farmer Christina Goy and Farmer Camelia Minasian guided the group past the barns out back to the hoophouses and 96’x30’ greenhouse. Christina spoke about GAP standards required for greenhouses, hoophouses, and also the fields. She also answered questions and told us about their farm’s newly acquired land; mending soils that were previously farmed conventionally and reverting them back into organic....

The weather vane on top of the cupola of the timber frame barn here at the Learning Center does not sport the common farm animals, like roosters or pigs. This particular weathervane is adorned with dolphins.

Angelic Organics Learning Center's Chicago Program Director Martha Boyd, who moderates the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts, staffed a table for CCE at the 12th Ward's Green Fair in McKinley Park on April 11.

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!

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