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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.

This time of year, friends who are familiar with Angelic Organics farm might be wondering: What is the farm like during the winter?

As I drove into the farm today, past craggy piles up on either side of the driveway, it was remarkably still. Especially compared to how it feels during the height of the growing season - hands harvesting, machines moving, kids playing - it is quiet on the farm this time of year.

But there is always life on the farm and there is always work to be done. Our dedicated crew keeps the livestock fed and watered....

In a few weeks, on January 29, 2014, Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farmer Training Initiative will be the beneficiary of a Whole Foods 5% day!

Call for nominations for the Second Annual Beginning Farmer of the Year Recognition, sponsored by the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance and Angelic Organics Learning Center.

On November 26th residents of Blackhawk Courts gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving—farm style. This multi-generational family event brought over thirty people together to create & cook an assortment of pies. Prior to the event, pie-making participants decided about what type of pies they would like to make with fruit, nuts or vegetables.  In response to popular demand, pecan and banana cream pies were added to the menu. Other taste sensations included sweet potato and apple fillings, both of which were grown or gathered locally by the farm crew at Blackhawk Courts. The theme of the night was “let’s bake and eat...

Not only do farmers require ingenuity and creativity in dealing with issues that arise on the farm, today's modern small-scale, organic farmers must possess this same level of ingenuity when it comes to marketing and selling their products. Farmers must set themselves apart, create an edge in the market. As a 5-foot-tall, spunky, single woman farmer with long dreadlocks, Andy Hazzard naturally stands out.

On September 24th, we received a phone call at Angelic Organics Roots & Wings office from someone wondering if our organization was interested in harvesting some organically grown apples and pears. The call was given to me and the warm voice on the other end belonged to Joan Sabin of Rockton, Illinois. I responded with a resounding “YES!”

Imagine this scenario: as you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with your family, you begin to realize that each dish has a story.* Perhaps it’s a story about the farmer who grew your mashed potatoes or the friend who gave you his cranberry sauce recipe.

Now imagine: your kids made half the dishes on your Thanksgiving table - so they’re the ones leading the storytelling. They’re sharing tips for proofing yeast and laughing about how they almost spilled the filling as they put the pumpkin pie...

By Justin Farr, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

The Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) just finished our final field day of the season! We had an amazing field day focused on animal processing and pasture management that took place at two locations. We started the morning at Eickman’s Processing Facility where we were able to witness the complete slaughtering process, starting with the kill floor. It was a very eye-opening experience for everyone there. I was worried about observing a cow getting slaughtered, but I left with a sense of calm, thinking that these guys are doing it the...

Applications are available today! Please review details of the program online and take the eligibility quiz to see if you qualify for the program. Applications are due by November 30th, 2013 and can be found here.

By Vernice King, Eat2Live Garden Volunteer

 

Taco Bell? ...at a community garden event?

Hecky Yeah!  Its vegetarian, delicious, and economical. This copy cat recipe of Taco Bell's Catina Bowl has been a really big hit for my family. A simple google search for each of the components makes this meal extremely affordable and even more delicious than the restaurant's version. This salad sells for about $8 at TB. I'll bet that you can serve your whole family for that amount. I'll also bet that you already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen already. Feel free to...

Eat2Live, Harvest Dinner, Englwood, Chicago

By L. Anton Seals Jr., Project Coordinator, Chicago Urban Initiative

 

Project Coordinator, Urban Initiative
Project Coordinator, Urban Initiative
Project Coordinator, Urban Initiative

As the summer season came to a close, Eat2Live celebrated the new fall season with food, music and great dialogue at the 1st annual Community Harvest Dinner. With over 50 participants, and help from the University of Chicago’s community service center, the dinner was a great success. We pitched a tent and set the tables in the...

This year in Rockford we expanded the farm operation at Blackhawk Courts Farm and Garden significantly, increasing both productivity and community activity.  As the season winds down, we will soon enter a planning and visioning process with Blackhawk leadership to collectively envision the future of the farm. 

There is always so much to do. Many days, my to-do list seems to grow longer rather than shorter.  Lately, I have been finding myself mindlessly eating in front of my computer at lunch or skipping lunch all together.  Yesterday, I didn’t have time to eat lunch or dinner and I knew it was time for an intervention.

Today I packed some lettuce from my Angelic Organics CSA box and harvested some zebra tomatoes and purple peppers from the Learning Center garden.  I did not attempt to multi-task as I prepared my food.  Instead, I quieted myself and focused on...

By Liz Whitehurst, Program Director, On Farm Initiative

 

Dave Kostka is one of our original On-Farm Educators. When he is on the farm, you're likely to find him identifying insects or sharing his expansive knowledge of nature and agriculture through jokes and stories. When he isn't on the farm, you'll likely find him at his own market garden, where he grows tomatoes, herbs, corn, and more for a farmer's market.

One of his favorite things to grow is corn: not the genetically modified stuff that many farmers in our area grow, but heritage varieties. Besides sweet corn and popcorn,...

Danica Hoehn
Program Director, Roots & Wings Network

 

We cooked together in the rain last Wednesday at Blackhawk Courts Farm & Gardens in Rockford, IL. Folks ran home
from the outdoor cooking session & came back donning big umbrellas to shelter the cooks as they roasted green
tomatoes, garlic, green onions, & all kinds of peppers on the three burner propane stove.

The plan: transform simple garden fresh ingredients into salsa, then salsa to chili chilaquiles, and then salsa to soup.
Ambitious & just like personal transformation, it was messy and mysterious. The final...

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