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Farm Beginnings

Applications still available for the 2015-16 Stateline Farm Beginnings! Check out our FANTASTIC new video and learn more about the course, as well as its impact on graduates...

By Bill Ladd-Cawthorne

About a dozen Upper Midwest CRAFT farmers arrived for a field day at Natural Farm Stand in Richmond, IL, on Sunday, July 12. Natural Farm Stand is owned and operated by Sue and Gary Gauger on the farmland that Gary’s grandfather bought in 1923...

Act Now to Lend Your Voice to the Strategic Direction of the Farmer Training Initiative
 
Angelic Organics Learning Center is shaping its next 3-year strategic plan for the years 2016-2018, and we would be grateful if you would share any insights you may have about our mission and programs as well as the changing landscape of the food and farm system that impacts our work.
 
The objectives for this feedback are to gather input regarding

1) the Learning Center Farmer Training Initiative's current mission and programs; and

2) possible future strategic directions for it.
 
Farmer Training's...

This Sunday the sun shown brightly and warmed up Chicagoland just in time for our CRAFT field day. On September 14th, CRAFT members gathered at Green Earth Institute in Naperville, IL, to learn about postharvest handling. Amongst the group of CRAFT members were also special guests - four students from the horticulture department at College of DuPage, enrolled in "Organic Vegetable Production" taught by CRAFT farm member Kim Marsin of Sweet Home Organics.

Green Earth Institute is surrounded by many subdivisions within a suburb of Chicago. The farm is 60 acres total so it’s not really constituted...

Molly Bresline of Breslin Farms, a CRAFT farm

The morning after a series of thunderstorms and strong winds moved through northern Illinois, twelve CRAFT members traveled along miles of wind-damaged cornfields to convene at Breslin Farms to learn about how the Breslins incorporate cover crops into their rotations. While the Breslin’s rye field experienced wind damage, our hosts remained optimistic about being able to harvest the crop, speculating about its resiliency due to years of cover crop benefits—nicely prefacing the day’s conversation.

Father-and-daughter team John and Molly Breslin are in their fourth year of transitioning a family farm from conventional to organic row crops. They focus...

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It’s mid-year, and our Farm Asset Builder participants are well into their growing season. They have also reached the midpoint of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farm Asset Builder Program—a program in its inaugural year. The Farm Asset Builder Program is a matched savings program that provides farmers with the opportunity and motivation to save. At the end of our pilot year, farmers in compliance with program requirements will receive up to $2,400 to contribute to a farm asset thanks to our sponsors and donors.

Our sponsors are helping farmers gain...

Integrating Livestock into Vegetable Operations Field Day

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It was one of the first great, sunny, spring days of the year when CRAFT Farmers gathered with Matt and Peg Schaeffer in Monroe, Wisconsin to learn about Sandhill Family Farms' efforts to incorporate livestock into their vegetable farming operations. Sandhill Family Farms operates a well-known community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that serves the Chicago area, and Matt and Peg’s family recently obtained a herd of sheep to diversify the farm's offerings to customers in the fall.

Field day participants eagerly listened while Matt explained the importance of protecting and maintaining pasture in...

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.

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.

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