Openfields Local Foods Conference March 16 at Atwood Center

Staff Report

University of Illinois Extension and the Winnebago County Local Foods Workgroup present the Fourth Annual Openfields Local Food Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, March 16, at Atwood Center, 2685 New Milford School Road, Rockford.

U of I Extension Openfields events are 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 is Chicago’s Bill Shores of Shores Garden Consulting, Inc., who will present “Designing Edible and Ornamental Small Space Gardens.”

A slide show and discussion of unique and beautiful spaces devoted to producing food for restaurants will be presented. Also learn how urban residential spaces can be transformed into highly productive organic gardens that also serve as outdoor living and entertaining spaces.

Other topics presented include microclimates, season extension, container gardening, indoor growing, composting and edible landscaping.

Shores designs urban garden systems in Chicago and manages the organic garden at Topolobampo, Rick Bayless’ famous Chicago restaurant.

The event includes three additional sessions, including the “Local Impact of Frontera Foundation Grants,” presented by local farmers Andy Hazzard of Hazzard Free Farms and Jill Beyer of Harrison Market Gardens, and “Farms of Tomorrow … Today” presented by Jonathan Fagan, head grower at Angelic Organics. Lunch will feature local food creations by Michelle Princer of Toni’s of Winnebago.

The registration fee is $25 per person, which includes the keynote presentation, three educational sessions and lunch; registration is $30 at the door. Register at or call (815) 986-4357.

From the March 6-12, 2013, issue

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