U of I Extension announces 3rd Annual Openfields Local Foods Conference

Staff Report

Backyard birds, bees, mushrooms and more! University of Illinois Extension and the Winnebago County Local Foods Workgroup present the Third Annual Openfields Local Foods Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 17, at Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford School Road, Rockford.

The Openfields Local Foods Conference is designed to help interested community members gain knowledge and develop a greater understanding of local foods, from the farm to the table. This year’s conference is geared toward individuals interested in learning more about growing their own food and/or growing food for the local foods market.

Keynote speaker Jennifer Murtoff of Home to Roost Services in Oak Park, Ill., teaches new chicken owners about bird health, feed options, and coop space and placement. She will share her experiences and ideas about raising chickens with conference attendees in her presentation titled The Charm of Chickens: Reasons to Raise Backyard Birds.

Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting was hatched upon finding that people in urban and suburban areas are flocking to chicken raising. Why is this trend catching on? One of the main reasons is eggs,” said Murtoff.

Additional sessions about backyard beekeeping, growing gourmet mushrooms and growing fruit will be offered to all participants.

The Openfields Local Foods Conference fee is $20 per person and includes the keynote presentation, three educational sessions and a lunch made by Toni’s of Winnebago, featuring locally-grown and produced foods; registration is $25 at the door. To register, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw/ or call (815) 986-4357.

From the March 14-20, 2012, issue

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