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Farm Beginnings

AOLC is excited to announce a brand new Farmer Training program: The Farm Asset Builder Program! This program was a long-time coming, and many hours of hard work went into making this program a reality.

Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), along with 12 other CRAFT farmer alliances from across North America, met at Hawthorne Valley Farm Jan 2-4 in Ghent, New York, for an inaugural in-person meeting of CRAFT farmers and coordinators. This special meeting happened in conjunction with, and was hosted by, the Farm Beginnings Collaborative, a network of 9 US nonprofits--including Angelic Organics Learning Center--that offers the Farm Beginnings strategic farm business planning program to their farmer networks.

Call for nominations for the Second Annual Beginning Farmer of the Year Recognition, sponsored by the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance and Angelic Organics Learning Center.

Not only do farmers require ingenuity and creativity in dealing with issues that arise on the farm, today's modern small-scale, organic farmers must possess this same level of ingenuity when it comes to marketing and selling their products. Farmers must set themselves apart, create an edge in the market. As a 5-foot-tall, spunky, single woman farmer with long dreadlocks, Andy Hazzard naturally stands out.

By Justin Farr, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

The Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) just finished our final field day of the season! We had an amazing field day focused on animal processing and pasture management that took place at two locations. We started the morning at Eickman’s Processing Facility where we were able to witness the complete slaughtering process, starting with the kill floor. It was a very eye-opening experience for everyone there. I was worried about observing a cow getting slaughtered, but I left with a sense of calm, thinking that these guys are doing it the...

Applications are available today! Please review details of the program online and take the eligibility quiz to see if you qualify for the program. Applications are due by November 30th, 2013 and can be found here.

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.

Choosing a CSA farm is somewhat like dating – there are as many personalities of farms as there are personalities of people.  Part of the beauty of CSAs  (short for Community Supported Agriculture) is that they offer more than just food – they offer a relationship, a chance to connect with your food and be part of the farm community.  Yet, CSA-shareholder pairings don’t always work out.  It is important to find one that clicks with your personality and needs.

Fortunately, The Local Beet has done all the footwork for you.  Their new 2013 CSA guide offers a...

Altfrid Krusenbaum of Krusengrass Farm

In 2013, Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC) and the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance will recognize four beginning farmers and one farmer mentor who have been outstanding leaders, innovators or community-builders in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region.  

Farmers are invited to nominate their farm by creating and submitting a video by February 25, 2013. Five cash prizes will be awarded during a public ceremony to be held on Friday, March 15 at the Good Food Festival in Chicago.   

A $1,000 honorarium will go to the "Beginning Farmer of the Year" spotlighted for recognition by...

Bill Mitchell in the garlic fields

With a busy season coming to a close, Angelic Organics Learning Center's Farmer Training team has been pouring over evaluations and surveys from the past several months. In reviewing our fall CRAFT survey, we noticed the success of many Stateline Farm Beginnings® graduates and asked several to share their stories. Here is what Bill and Angie Mitchell of 3 Flat Acres had to say.

Angelic Organics Learning Center (AO): How did you get into farming as a career?

3 Flat Acres (3FA): First we must note that farming is not our only career.  Angie maintains a...

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