Online Staff Report
CALEDONIA, Ill. — The DIY (Do It Yourself) movement continues to grow in popularity. Folks from all walks of life are deciding to take control of the quality and sources of their products and food by learning to make or grow it for themselves. While this may require more effort than running to the nearest box supermarket, it offers people the opportunity to save money, feel secure and ethical about their food choices, and enjoy the rewards of working with their head, heart and hands.
The cost of groceries is increasing with the high cost of fuel to ship the food. Worldwatch Institute reports that food travels an average of 1,500 to 2,500 food miles from farm to plate. Not only does this cause a decrease in nutrients and pose risks for spoilage, but it contributes to climate change and costs a small fortune in fossil fuels — which translates to the cost of groceries.
Concerns about the way factory-farmed animals are treated have driven many people to care for their own small livestock — a trend even in urban areas like Chicago.
The reasons for the DIY movement are simple: growing your own food promotes health and saves money, nutrients and the environment.
While there are opportunities to learn some of these techniques in books and on the Internet, nothing is better than getting some hands-on experience with the experts at Angelic Organics Learning Center in Caledonia, Ill. Following are some upcoming classes offered at the learning center:
• Count Your Chickens: 9 a.m.-noon, March 16 — Curious about starting a small flock of chickens? This workshop will address all you need to know before you get your birds: health, feeding, breeding, housing, protection from predators, year-round care, raising chicks, and more.
• Get Your Goat, 9 a.m.-noon, April 6 — Thinking about getting a goat? Learn about the basics of different breeds, housing, feed requirements, breeding pregnancy and birth. Learn how to trim hooves, what to look for when purchasing your first goat, and the basics of milking and processing milk.
• Starting Your Organic Garden, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., April 20 — Celebrate spring by learning techniques for organic soil preparation and planting. Learn about soil texture and soil life, plus how a biodynamic farm tends and feeds the earth. Cover the basics of double digging, prepare a garden bed, and learn about seeding and transplanting through hands-on projects.
• “Ins” and “Outs” of Composting, 1-3:30 p.m., April 21 — Learn what makes a successful compost pile, and decide which methods will work best for your household. Overview various types of compost bins, build a pile together and learn about Angelic Organics’ farm-scale compost operation. Meet the worms in the learning center’s vermiculture system, and find out how to implement indoor composting at home.
• Eating Your Weeds! An Introduction to Wild Edibles, 9 a.m.-noon, April 27 — Go to the farm to learn how to identify wild edible plants. Explore the woods looking for morels, garlic mustard, stinging nettle, raspberry shoots and more, then return to the kitchen to sample different recipes.
Posted March 13, 2013