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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...

Trogg's Hollow, Chris Prchal, Stateline Farm Beginnings, CRAFT

Trogg's Hollow, Chris Prchal, Stateline Farm Beginnings, CRAFTWhen Chris and Marcy Prchal started a family, they decided to go into farming. They weren’t aiming to strike it rich; they simply wanted to provide for their family of six, give their children a meaningful upbringing, and support the community with sustainably grown, real food.

Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for the Farm Photo Contest!  We received many beautiful entries and it was interesting to view all the different perspectives of the farm.  You can enjoy all of the submissions on our Facebook page

milkweed

By Martha Boyd, Program Director, Urban Initiative, Chicago

This summer, at the Eat to Live Garden in Englewood, many Yale Elementary School students knew about the connection between common milkweed and Monarch butterflies, who lay their eggs on milkweed plants. When a Monarch caterpillar hatches, it eats milkweed leaves until it forms a chrysalis and -- if all goes well -- becomes an adult butterfly and continues on its journey.

 

I saw only one or two Monarchs this early summer when the milkweeds were starting to flower in the Eat to Live Garden -- but they attracted many other...

Farmer John from Angelic Organics Farm discusses his methods to weed prevention.

By Jenny Meyer, Program Director of Farmer Training Initiative

Program Director of Farmer Training Initiative
Program Director of Farmer Training Initiative

On Tuesday, August 6th the Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Farmer Alliance for Farmer Training) fulfilled an objective conceived by C.R.A.F.T.’s steering committee last November: offer an extended field day that caters specifically to earnest, established beginning farmers so that the length and detail of the day’s activities draw a high farmer turnout from a broad portion of CRAFT's geographic area.

By featuring trainings from...

Rooted in Community Food Justice Rally

By Ketura and Milca St. Fleurose and Desmond Moore

 

Three Roots and Wings’ Youth, accompanied by Market Manager, Tedd Snowden, attended the national youth-led urban agriculture conference-Rooted In Community (RIC) in Los Angeles, CA in late August. Milca and Ketura along with farm apprentice, Desmond Moore were selected as workshop presenters for the conference.

 

We caught up with three of the youth, Ketura and Milca St. Fleurose and Desmond Moore to learn about attending this national gathering. When asked why they went to the conference (besides the fact it was in L.A.) the answer was: “To learn...

By Rosana Thompson, parent

Owner of Chai Town Tea

Tears streamed down her face as she grieved that “Banana”, the baby goat she helped name, would not be little when they would return the following year to goat camp. Never in my wildest parenting dreams did I see this coming. Both of my little girls had fallen in love with farm animals, an attachment almost as strong as the one I feel for them. During the three days, the girls collected chicken eggs, made deviled eggs and corn bread from fresh ingredients, cooperated with other children from Chicagoland and...

This fall, we’re offering extra sessions of some of our most popular programs: Winemaking! Animal Day! Plus, we're adding new stuff: cheesemaking for kids and a yoga mini-retreat for the Equinox!


In other words, we have an awesome fall season planned and we want you to be a part of it. If you haven't signed up for fall programs yet, do it now!

Read on to learn more about what we just added.

Animal Day for Families: Saturday, September 14, 10 AM - 3 PM, $20. This class is so popular, we added an extra...

Iris Moore, ceramic, compost, artist, ceramic art, #AngelicDinner

Iris Moore, ceramic, compost, artist, ceramic art, #AngelicDinner

When fine artist Iris Moore attended an artist's tour of the farm in May, she was immediately inspired.  Realizing that all the abundance from Angelic Organics begins in the compost, Iris took some casts of the compost piles.  She transformed the compost molds into beautiful ceramic plates symbolizing the complete cycle of compost to soil to food to plate and back again.  After falling in love with the farm, she wished to offer something in return.  Therefore, she...

Farmer John Peterson and Tom Spaulding

Farmer John Peterson and Tom SpauldingThe following are the remarks of Tom Spaulding shared at the 2013 Farm Dinner event.  Tom is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Learning Center.

Thank you for being here tonight to support the mission and programs of the Angelic Organics Learning Center and to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of our founding. I am so very grateful to each and every one of you, whether you are...

urban agriculture, urban garden, free library, Englewood, Eat to Live

By Martha Boyd, Program Director, Urban Initiative (Chicago)

Our Little Free Library was installed at the front of the Eat to Live Garden in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood on July 18th!

On Day 1, we had some books on display - and already several borrowers, including neighbor and birthday girl, Shavanna, who picked out a book about sunflowers and then posed for a picture.

Our LFL was acquired through my former landlord Rick Brooks in Madison (thanks, Rick!) - to learn more about the worldwide LFL movement, visit www.littlefreelibrary.org

Eat to Live Englewood is a partnership...

Angelic Organics Learning Center, Hazzard Free Farm, organic watermelon

Angelic Organics Learning Center, Hazzard Free Farm, organic watermelonOn May 13th, a crew made up of residents from Blackhawk Courts, Eco Advocate participants, and the Rockford urban Learning Center staff headed out to Andy Hazzard’s farm to plant watermelon seeds for a future harvest. Andy is owner of Hazzard Free Farm located in Pecatonica, IL. In April, she participated in our Business Summit as a guest speaker and was eager to support the youth’s entrepreneurial efforts. As a result of her enthusiasm, we entered into an aggregation agreement whereby Andy offered some land at her farm for us to grow...

By Jessie Crow Mermel, On Farm Educator & Communications Coordinator

Sharing the love of the farm

If you were asked to choose a place you could take someone you love, whom would you choose and where would you go?  8-year-old Amelia was asked that question at school last year.  Her beautiful response is pictured here.  Amelia would take her little cousin Jonah to Angelic Organics Learning Center. 

 

Jonah, who turns 3 this month, lives in Denver and loves animals, like Amelia.  Amelia doesn’t get to see...

prairie restoration

By Katie Townsend, Urban Farm Educator

7-4-13

 Bound to celebrate the Fourth of July. The Patriotic Prayer Breakfast begins in thirty minutes. I dress with firecracker speed not to miss out on the doings. After the musical rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, speeches delivered and of course petition to the Maker there is the rest of the holiday. If snappy with my day off chores there will be time for viewing shimmering colors over the river. So why do I suddenly find myself pouring the last of my coffee into a travel mug, grabbing my backpack tossing in journal,...

By Debora, Milca, Ketura St. Fleurose and Kolten Luvert, Roots & Wings Youth Leaders

Have you ever wondered how to give back to your community? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to get fresh produce and support the community. A CSA is paying ahead for the farmer to grow your vegetables.

It might come as a surprise, but the Roots and Wings Youth Leaders and ECO Advocates students are the ones growing the vegetables for a CSA.

We come together to form a “Youth Farm” located at the Tinker Swiss Cottage and Gardens.

It is unique....

By Debora, Milca, Ketura St. Fleurose and Kolten Luvert, Roots & Wings Youth Leaders

Have you ever wondered how to give back to your community? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to get fresh produce and support the community. A CSA is paying ahead for the farmer to grow your vegetables.

It might come as a surprise, but the Roots and Wings Youth Leaders and ECO Advocates students are the ones growing the vegetables for a CSA.

We come together to form a “Youth Farm” located at the Tinker Swiss Cottage and Gardens.

It is unique....

urban garden, urban agriculture, youth garden, Rockford community garden

By Spencer Ellsworth, Urban Farm Manager, Roots & Wings

One fine June Thursday in Rockford, a group of people met early in the morning to talk about squash. 

“If we put them in the Northeast quadrant, they’ll be able to vine up the fence.”

“Plus, they’ll be farthest away from that fat groundhog.”  The groundhog had already come around, looking for a feast, despite the fence’s bottom edge having been sunk a foot into the earth. 

“Gotta dig the beds first, though.” 

“Good thing we have help today!”  This convention of strategic minds was the twice-weekly Blackhawk Courts Farm &...

Kindergarteners and first graders from Yale Elementary plant seeds in Englewood

By Martha Boyd, Program Director, Urban Initiative (Chicago)

This spring at Yale Elementary, Eat to Live provided enrichment activities in the classroom, after school program, and the Garden. Students related the Growth Cycle of plants with the parts we harvest and eat. They held red wrigglers from the food composting wormbin, and learned that worms have 5 hearts (don’t cut them in half)!  They tasted self-sown lettuce and lambsquarters (wild spinach), and learned to prepare healthy recipes. By mid-June, students and Garden volunteers planted half the Garden with tomatillos, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, corn, summer squash, and cucumbers. Deborah...

We're really looking forward to our upcoming Versatile Herbs class at the farm on July 14th, especially because we're welcoming Evelyn Cooley and Silvia Abel-Caines as guest instructors. Not only will we learn about how to incorporate herbs therapeautically into our diets, we'll create natural body care products to take home.

teach recipes for incorporating them therapeutically in the diet.  You’ll learn techniques for creating natural body care products and make several to bring home. - See more at: http://www.learngrowconnect.org/node/4495#sthash.3Ftg8VN8.dpuf
We’ll discuss the qualities of different...

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