Guest Column: January news from CSA Learning Center at Angelic Organics

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Editor’s note: The following is from the January 2007 E-News from CSA Learning Center at Angelic Organics.

Upcoming Events to

Learn, Grow and Connect

Our 2007 tours and workshops begin Feb. 3! Visit our complete calendar of events for more information about learning opportunities at the farm and in Chicago.

Town Hall Meeting: “Global Warming—What can You Do?” 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Jan. 20.

Fresh from the Field

By Deb Crockett, Agroecology Educator and Roots & Wings Director

Garlic, cabbage, potatoes, greens, carrots, onion, parsnips. The peelers and knives move quickly, as six boys help chop and prepare vegetables for our “Stone Soup.”

Perhaps you know this folk tale of strangers who come into a village looking for food. When no one offers hospitality, they boil a pot of water with just a single stone. Tasting the soup, they comment that it might taste better with a bit of onion. The villagers tentatively offer the scraps from their storerooms until the pot overflows with enough to feed everyone.

I tell this story to the Roots & Wings youth gardeners in Rockford as we create our own soup, reflecting on all that took place to make this meal. We talk about the physical tasks of the garden: unloading compost in April, weeding in June, digging potatoes in fall. We discuss how we worked together: listening, taking turns, contributing ideas. When we each bring what we have to the task at hand, we create something richer and more nourishing than we could alone.

The youth came together this year in many little and big ways to make a difference in the community. Their banner project was creating a new garden at the Fairgrounds Valley Housing Project, introducing gardening to the youth in that community. They also sold produce at the local farmers’ market, served meals to their families, created a theater performance, reduced waste, grew soil, and taught lessons to younger kids. The gardens serve as the stone in the soup, a catalyst to bring out the creativity and gifts of the kids!

Seasonal Spotlight

We love it when the “students” in our programs become the leaders and teachers. This year’s Stateline Farm Beginnings course for beginning farmers is generously hosted by students Don and Teresa Larson at their farm near Angelic Organics. The Larsons share a fence line with two of last year’s Farm Beginnings graduates, Margaret and Mark Nelson. The Nelsons have shared their story of launching Margie’s Grass Kickin’ Chickens at two of our classes this season. With a nearby farmette up for sale, the two families are hoping to lure another Stateline Farm Beginnings student to the neighborhood!

Dec. 12, Roots & Wings youth leaders received a check for $2,035 from the In Youth We Trust Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Their proposal, titled “GREEN (Growing Responsible Expressive Environmental Neighborhood) Kids,” will help fund bench building, public art and community events in the five community gardens next year. Congratulations!

From the Dec. 27, 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue

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