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If you haven't seen all the hubbub about Walmart's global sustainability initiative announced on Oct. 14th, check these out:

http://walmartstores.com/Video/?id=1225

http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10376.aspx

I met one of the consultants working with Walmart HQ on this initiative when I was in Europe last year on tour of Biodynamic farms with farmer John.  I realized I had met this consultant back at the Earth Summit in 1992 in Brazil.  I like him and he is very sharp and creative.  He was convinced that Walmart was going to take a leap ahead of many nonprofits and governments...

One of the Learning Center's Farmer Training Field Days at Sandhill Organics Farm in Grayslake, IL

The Learning Center's Tracey Hall was recently featured on The Mike Nowak Show "Good Growing: So you wanna be a farmer, eh?" to talk about a Learning Center course called "Farm Dreams: Assessing Risks & Resources to Start a Small Farm or Market Garden."

On October 29, Learning Center partner South West Rockford Community Garden Partnership held a Fall Harvest Celebration, to commemmorate a successful first year and the development of five new community gardens providing fresh food and community for Rockford residents.

 

The event was featured in the Rockford Register Star, and WREX Channel 13 News. The gardens are the result of a new program called Eco-Advocates, developed by Comprehensive Community Solutions and the Learning Center to provide GED and job readiness training for youth ages 18-25. Angelic Organics...

Thank You for Being a Hen: Chicken enthusiasts take roost in Chicago.

Journalist Nic Halverson quotes the Learning Center's Chicago Urban Initiative Program Director Martha Boyd and the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts in the recent cover story, "Thank You for Being a Hen," for Mindful Metropolis. 

 

"Riding high on the momentum of the local food movement’s ascent from the fringes into a more mainstream public consciousness, in the last few years, the renaissance of urban agriculture has cities nationwide revisiting old ordinances and drafting new laws to allow for small-scale backyard chicken keeping." writes Halverson.

The article provides an overview of the ...

Building Community Food Systems in Rockford

Angelic Organics Learning Center is proud to announce a recent award from the USDA Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program. The Learning Center is one of only 27 organizations nationwide to receive this award to build build community food systems. These awards were made through the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA.)

 

The award will support our work with youth and adult leadership teams to build community food security in Rockford,  Illinois. The Learning Center's programming in Rockford has grown out of the plans, visions, and talents of the ...

Miss Juanita Chickie

We said goodbye this week to one of our colleagues. Miss Juanita Chickie was a nine-year old Araucana chicken, and a fine host indeed for our education programs.

 

She was raised by young Adam, who carried her pretty much continuously when she was a spring chicken. Thanks to his attentiveness and care, Miss Juanita was by far and away our most amenable chicken to handling. Nary a squawk if a first-time chicken holder would lift her from the ground.

 

Consequently, thousands of children (and quite possibly hundreds of adults) had their first up close and personal experience...

Grown By Rockford Youth

Come celebrate with the Learning Center and the South West Rockford Community Garden Cooperative Partnership as we celebrate a successful and very fruitful first growing season!

 

On Friday, October 29, from 11:00am-2:30pm at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens, 411 Kent St in Rockford, we will be celebrating the harvest season and expressing our appreciation for all of our 2010 volunteers.

 

In its first year, the South West Rockford Community Gardens Partnership has already made a big impact in South West Rockford and beyond. Over 100 youth from the community have put in over...

The Zinnicker Family Farm stewards Wisconsin farm-land using organic, Biodynamic methods--and hosts field days for our farmer training programs

Paul Dietmann, a regular speaker for Stateline Farm Beginnings, was recently appointed Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection!   "Paul's work ethic and his commitment to service will serve him, the agency and the people of Wisconsin well," commented Randy Romanski, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "He brings great energy to everything he does, and he is an important part of the team here at DATCP," he said. Read the full DATCP Press Release for more information.   Here at the Learning...

Gunther Hauk tending bees-Biodynamic style

The Learning Center's partnership in Rogers Park, including Heartland Alliiance, Chicago Waldorf School, and others, has developed a vibrant urban beekeeping program. We are excited to announce that Gunther Hauk, biodynamic gardener and beekeeper, teacher and lecturer, will offer a workshop on Biodynamic Beekeeping at Chicago Waldorf School this Friday.

 

When:  October 15, 2-5 pm
Where:  Chicago Waldorf School Physics Lab, 1319 W Loyola Ave
Suggested Donation: $25
RSVP's: In advance to Brian Gleichauf at bgleichauf@chicagowaldorf.org

 

Mr. Hauk will speak about methods...

A Bike festival on 10.10.10

Please join the Youth Leaders and the Roots & Wings network at Go Bike! Rockford, on Sunday, October 10th at Brown Park in Rockford. The Youth Leaders and Roots & Wings network, is coordinated by Angelic Organics Learning Center through our Urban Initiative in Rockford.

Go Bike! Rockford is a public festival promoting the reduction of carbon emissions by establishing and maintaining pro-bicycle culture and urban food systems in Rockford, IL. The event will feature a mini farmers market held by the Youth Leaders, a free bike clinic, a BMX demo, street art expo...

On a beautiful September Sunday, people gathered from near and far for a hands-on (and feet) learning experience building an earthen oven.

 

The events started with introductions and presentation by Randy Mermel and Judy Speer on the hows and whys of building with cob, which stimulated many great questions and conversations. We tried to keep the presentation to a minimum so we could get outside and get busy with the cob. Before the potluck lunch, we built the brick oven entrance, laid the fire bricks for the oven floor and prepared the sand form that would act to hold...

Building a Cob Oven

Many visitors who have come to the farm in the past 2 years have enjoyed fresh baked bread and pizza from our unique oven.  In addition to learning about the process of artisan baking, they have also had the opportunity to learn about this form of sustainable building.  This earth oven is made from cob.  Cob is one of the oldest building materials.

 

It is a mixture of clay, sand, and straw; making it simple to source locally.  There is no need to ship in building materials. A variety of groups have utilized the earth oven,...

Roots & Wings participants visit the ECO Co-op managed by AOLC volunteer Dietrich McGaffey

Learning Center board member and volunteer Constance McCarthy shares her experience of a recent educational trip to Chicago with Roots & Wings youth.

 

Early on Friday, June 18, the Roots & Wings Youth Leaders headed into Chicago for a two-day whirlwind urban agriculture tour and team-building activities. The EcoAdvocates, the newest member of the Roots & Wings network, joined us on Friday, as well. At the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, we met Martha Boyd, Director of Angelic Organics Learning Center's Chicago Urban Initiative and our tour guide for...

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The picnic bench at the farm was filled with goat milk ice cream, black raspberries and mulberries, and three plates of brownies filled with “mystery” vegetables. Campers in our cooking day camp had baked brownies, each group with a secret ingredient from the farm. A blind taste test revealed that the favorite dessert was made with...beets!

 

One of the campers said, “When I told my mom what our secret ingredient was, we were both kind of grossed out because we don’t like beets, but then, it was my favorite cake of all!”

A Collection of Seasonal Recipes

Angelic Organics Learning Center is proud to introduce a new cook book, 24 Boxes :: 1 Book, written, designed, and published by our friend Jen Mayer.  Jen became a shareholder of our partner farm, Angelic Organics, in 2006, and has been blogging about her weekly vegetables since 2007. In her blog, 24 boxes, she shares seasonal recipes created with ingredients from Angelic Organics and Grass is Greener Gardens. 24 Boxes :: 1 Book distills this collection, adding helpful extras, including a seasonal...

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The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University released a multi-state economic impact study on increases in fruit and vegetableimage production in a six-state area (including Illinois and Wisconsin) that was released this past week. Fresh Taste and the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council, partners to the project, released the report in Illinois with a press conference on April 28th. As a co-chair of the Council that released the report in Illinois, I see...

Heirloom tomatoes

A recent Chicago Tribune article featured two of the Learning Center’s CRAFT network members farms, who are finding innovative ways to get their produce into the hands of busy commuters. Scotch Hill Farm and Harvest Moon Farms are two of more than 70 Upper Midwest CRAFT member farms. The owners of Harvest Moon are also graduates of the Learning Center’s Stateline Farm Beginnings program. We are proud of our farmers!

 


Download the article in PDF format.

Chickens can be raised in your backyard

We have experienced an overwhelming level of interest in our Backyard Chickens workshops this Spring. Our recent workshop in March sold out with 35 attendees--and a waiting list. When we presented at this year's Family Farmed Expo in Chicago, an estimated 150 were in attendance with standing room only. Everyone wants chickens!

 

In addition to hosting Backyard Chickens workshops, AOLC Chicago Program Director Martha Boyd also manages a Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts google group. The group brings together a flock of folks in and around Chicago to share stories and promote best practices in raising chickens. Many...

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