2003 U of I sustainable agriculture tours scheduled

2003 U of I sustainable agriculture tours scheduled

By Debra Levey Larson, U of I College of ACES Media/Communications Specialist

URBANA, Ill.—Six unique locations have been selected for this year’s sustainable agriculture tours, representing the broad diversity of the topic. “Sustainable agriculture includes alternative farming practices, but it’s also about ways to provide an adequate and dependable farm income,” said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, a University of Illinois research specialist who is coordinating the tours. “So, for example, on the first tour to ethnic grocery stores in Chicago, we’ll learn about specialty markets for alternative crops. Growers need to be connected to these specialty markets so they can sell what they produce.”

Cavanaugh-Grant said the tours last year were so successful that the U of I Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program decided to offer them again, this time new locations around Illinois. “There are so many wonderful places in Illinois to visit that selecting only six was difficult, but I think the ones we chose represent a wide variety of topics that will give people a chance to see six very different sustainable operations in action.”

The first tour of the 2003 schedule will be to several ethnic grocery stores in Chicago Tuesday, June 17. The tour will include stops in the Vietnamese and Indian neighborhoods of Chicago, the Muslim meat markets, an Arab sweet shop, and lunch at a Persian restaurant. Tour guide Evelyn Thompson will provide information at each stop about the produce, ingredients, cooking procedures and history of the food cultures. “On my tours we also do a lot of munching of snack foods that overflow the counters. We try to sample something from each country, be it a pastry, a savory, a sweet or an interesting drink,” Thompson said.

Monday, July 14, is the date for the second tour, which will visit several organic farms in Woodford County.

On Tuesday, Aug. 12, community-supported agriculture will be the topic with a tour of Angelica Organics in Caledonia.

Tuesday, Aug. 19, a tour will visit Tanglefoot Farm in Simpson to learn about prawn farming.

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the topic will be agritourism with a visit to Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul. The tour will include a hay ride and lunch served in the style of the grand Old West.

The final tour is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 29, to Pike’s Hunting Club in Marion where the topic will be waterfowl fee hunting.

Visit http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/~asap/smallfarm/tourbrochure.pdf for a printable brochure that includes details about all six tours. For additional information, contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at (217) 968-5512 or cvnghgrn@uiuc.edu. A small fee will be charged for each tour. Registration at least one week in advance is required. A registration form is available online at http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/index.html, or by contacting Cavanaugh-Grant.

The tours are sponsored by the Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Program, and the Illinois Small Farm Task Force.

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