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Blog Archive: April 2013

AOLC, Nicholson Conservatory, Atwood Award

It’s been a good year for AOLC’s Urban Farm Educator Katie Townsend.  Earlier this year, the Sinnissippi Audubon Society named her 2012 Conservationist of the Year.  Last week, she was awarded the Seth B. Atwood Award Park and Conservation Service Award for her outstanding contributions in conservation and education at the Rockford Park District City of Gardens program at Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford, IL. 

In addition to her work with AOLC’s Roots and Wings Initiative, Katie has been engaged with organizations dedicated to conservation and environmental education for the past 30 years.  The bulk of her career...

Cilantro interplanted with carrots in an unheated hoophouse.

On a blustery April 25th, twenty-six CRAFT members started the day at Hazzard Free Farm to learn about season extension. Hazzard Free Farm, started in 2007, is situated on a 240-acre plot in northern Illinois and consists of 10 acres in organic vegetable/herb production and 20 acres in organic grains. Farm enterprises include CSA, short-chain wholesale, and direct sales to other farmers. Owner/operator Andy Hazzard is also starting a farm incubator for farmers-in-training.

During the Field Day we focused on Hazzard Free Farm's multi-year effort to extend the growing season through hoophouse and greenhouse use. We toured three...

Kim Wasserman, LVEJO, Nieto Goldman Environmental Prize

By Jessie Crow Mermel, Communications Coordinator & On Farm Educator

In 1998, Kim Wasserman Nieto rushed her gasping baby to the emergency room.  Kim later discovered her son’s asthma attack was induced by environmental pollution.  Other residents in her community, Little Village, a densely populated neighborhood of mainly Latino families in Chicago, were also suffering from a host of respiratory problems and even premature deaths.

 

  The culprits were the Crawford plant and Fisk plants, owned by Midwest Generation.  These two “cloud factories,” as they were innocently called by local children, were two of the oldest and dirtiest power...

Eco Advocates, Angelic Organics Learning Center, AOLC, Roots & Wings

By Tedd Snowden, Market Manager, AOLC Roots & Wings

 On April 16th & 17th, Roots & Wings held an “All Partner Business Plan 2-day Summit.”

 There were three main goals for the summit:

  • To allow Roots & Wings partners and supporters an opportunity to deepen their personal relationship with each other and to share and discuss the work they have in common.
  • To have all partners share the business plans they have been developing over the last several months in order to receive feedback, guidance, and direction from their peers.
  • To allow the business owners and farmers that
  • ...
hoop house, urban gardening

By Katie Townsend, Urban Farm Educator 

April 8, 2013 greeted us with wet rain. No worries I thought as the students will be snug in the Hoop House planting seeds for their gardens as well as the plots cultivated by the Roots and Wings Youth Leaders and the starts for the farm at Blackhawk Courts. Then the phone call came …our covering for the Hoop House on Kent Street had been destroyed.

My heart sunk. The resilient Eco Advocate students and Green Americorp Project Leaders had already fixed the structure once after extensive vandalism. (See picture of the Hoop House...

Chicken Tractor at Angelic Organics Learning Center Farm

By Randy Mermel and Jessie Crow Mermel, On Farm Educators

When giving farm tours, we are faced with the challenge of encapsulating the complexity of Biodynamics into a palatable bite-size portion.  Biodynamic Agriculture, the brainchild of Rudolf Steiner (also the creator of Waldorf Education), is the philosophy and practice of our partner farm, Angelic Organics. 

For the general public, we choose to focus on the Biodynamic tenet of the farm as an organism.  Like a body composed of several organs working together for life to exist, a healthy farm system is composed of several...

Goat with newborn kids on the farm

by Nellie Conover-Crockett, Livestock Assistant, age 13

Although spring doesn't seem to be coming, things are already starting up at Angelic Organics Learning Center. Farmers are planting seeds in the greenhouse, baby chicks have arrived, and most importantly, goats have started to have their babies.

Last fall, in October, 8 goats were bred to have their babies in March and April. There were no babies in the first part of March but late on the night of March 17th, Sugar had her baby. Sugar had one girl, or doeling, who was named Blanquita, or "Little White One" in Spanish. Blanquita...