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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. 

 

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Eco Advocates, Angelic Organics Learning Center, AOLC, Roots & Wings, low tunnel

 By Eco Advocates, Desmond Moore and Roger Ross.  

Recorded and Edited by Katie Townsend- Urban Farm Educator

 

The Ecos created a low tunnel because our high tunnel was vandalized during spring break. The construction crew consisted of Joey Grimmett, Roger Ross and Desmond Moore. Another name for a low tunnel is a caterpillar. Undamaged plastic from the original high tunnel was draped over PVC pipe hoops that were fastened to a raised bed. Now the seedlings for our farm tasks could be started under the little greenhouse. This all happened on Kent Street on the southside of Rockford,...

Comcast, Angelic Organics Learning Center, Urban Farming, Earth Day, Englewood

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

On Saturday April 27, Comcast Cares and Links Unlimited celebrated Earth Day with the Eat to Live crew in E2L's Community and Learning Garden in southeast Englewood.  They cheerfully weeded out grass from garden beds, hauled many loads of compost, and collected the winter's trash and debris.  Comcast employee Roberto singlehandedly moved about a ton of compost, while his co-worker Vernice posed next to her newly-fluffed beds.  She plans to help the E2L Garden grow all season.  The work day ended with a visit by the Fresh Moves Mobile Market, returning monthly for E2L's...

AOLC, Nicholson Conservatory, Atwood Award

It’s been a good year for AOLC’s Urban Farm Educator Katie Townsend.  Earlier this year, the Sinnissippi Audubon Society named her 2012 Conservationist of the Year.  Last week, she was awarded the Seth B. Atwood Award Park and Conservation Service Award for her outstanding contributions in conservation and education at the Rockford Park District City of Gardens program at Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford, IL. 

In addition to her work with AOLC’s Roots and Wings Initiative, Katie has been engaged with organizations dedicated to conservation and environmental education for the past 30 years.  The bulk of her career...

hoop house, urban gardening

By Katie Townsend, Urban Farm Educator 

April 8, 2013 greeted us with wet rain. No worries I thought as the students will be snug in the Hoop House planting seeds for their gardens as well as the plots cultivated by the Roots and Wings Youth Leaders and the starts for the farm at Blackhawk Courts. Then the phone call came …our covering for the Hoop House on Kent Street had been destroyed.

My heart sunk. The resilient Eco Advocate students and Green Americorp Project Leaders had already fixed the structure once after extensive vandalism. (See picture of the Hoop House...

Urban Livestock Expo

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

On February 16th, over 200 visitors convened at the Garfield Park Conservatory to learn about caring for livestock in the city. 

Many people helped make the first annual Urban Livestock Expo a success – the organizers: Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), Angelic Organics Learning Center, Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts, the hosts, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, the 15 presenters, 20+ volunteers AND the standing room only crowd who came to learn from experienced practitioners about keeping chickens, ducks, bees, goats,...

Eco Advocates Visit Rock River Valley Food Pantry

The Eco Advocates is a Comprehensive Community Solutions program in partnership with the AOLC Urban Initiative Roots & Wings network. The Eco Advocates vocational preparatory program for young adults combines academics, training in green technology and urban agriculture, life skills, leadership development, and community service. 

Last year, the Eco Advocates grew organic vegetables at the Tinker Swiss Cottage gardens and sold them at the Rockford City Market.  This year, they will be starting a CSA and are exploring other ways they can be of service in the community. They are...

Roots & Wings Youth Leaders harvest fresh vegetables from their gardens to sell at farmers' markets and donate to their community

Congratulations to the Roots & Wings Youth Leaders on their recent grant from the In Youth We Trust grant program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.

 
The Roots & Wings Youth Leaders, part of the Learning Center's Urban Initiative in Rockford, are a group of teens who work together to plan, plant, tend, harvest, cook, and sell vegetables from urban gardens in Rockford. Youth Leaders are role models for younger gardeners in our Urban Initiative, and often speak at public events in Rockford.

 
In Youth We Trust is a youth philanthropy program of...

After taking the Learning Center’s “Basic Backyard Chicken Care” workshop in the fall of 2009, entrepreneur John Emrich had a light bulb moment.

 

“When I logged on to the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts discussions page, I noticed that 9 out of 10 posts were about how to get organic chicken feed for backyard chickens. There wasn’t a local source for organic chicken feed.”

 

Emrich launched his organic chicken feed delivery business, Backyard Chicken Run, soon after and made his first delivery in January 2010. He now serves more than 100 customers throughout Chicago and the suburbs, delivering organic chicken...

The on-farm Learning Center in winter

By Katie Townsend, AOLC Urban Farm Educator

 

My Dear Students,

 

It is New Year’s Eve. Before I revel the night away my habit is to revisit the year. Sometimes I retrace my footsteps. I like to stand one last time in the places I have labored and dreamed. So I find myself at the sleeping garden we have tended together. Tiny snowflakes melt into blackened soil. We have done our part and nature is about to do her rejuvenating work. Snow, compost and hope all go together. You will see come April.

 

Dan Janssen, a University Extension...

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