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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!

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 about his...

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.

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