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Roots & Wings Youth

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.

This year in Rockford we expanded the farm operation at Blackhawk Courts Farm and Garden significantly, increasing both productivity and community activity.  As the season winds down, we will soon enter a planning and visioning process with Blackhawk leadership to collectively envision the future of the farm. 

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...

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...

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 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 &...

Brain Shobe, Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program & AOLC intern
Brian Shobe, a Duffy Intern from Beloit College who worked with us in our Rockford Roots & Wings youth gardens, was recently awarded a fellowship with the Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program.  The Emerson Program supports a diversity of local and national approaches to eliminate hunger, poverty and social inequality, particularly racism. The fellowship is only offered to 20 people each year, making this quite a notable accomplishment!  We had the pleasure of talking to Brian recently and hearing about the ways his experience with AOLC helped him to learn, grow, and connect. 

 

...

This summer, the youth leaders applied for and received a grant of $2,000 from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, which allowed them to develop and launch a new free CSA program for low-income seniors in their neighborhood.

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