As an organization that works with farmers, we are always grateful to those who make sacrifices to make all of our lives better. And so Memorial Day was another reminder of how lucky we were to get to enjoy a beautiful long weekend.
The weekend was a much appreciated blast into summer for all of us at The Land Connection, and we hope it was for you too.
Last week was an extra busy week at the office, we prepared to release our Social Media Marketing Starter Kits, went to an all-day strategic planning session with our board, attended the Danville farmers’ market, a Salesforce meeting in Peoria, along with all of the day-to-day activities that keep the office running smoothly. So by the time Friday afternoon rolled around, the entire TLC staff was ready for a change of pace.
We all worked in our gardens–and after the heat and rain last week, the weeds were looking as robust as the vegetables. There was plenty of fun too–boat rides, day trips, farmers’ market visits, bicycle adventures, grilling, bonfires, drive-in movies and a general appreciation for the outdoors.
We are also saying farewell to our intern, Akshita, who graduated from the U of I this month. We appreciate everything she has done for us and wish her the best of luck as she goes on to Benin, West Africa, for the summer to work on girls’ education issues, and then on into the real world come fall.
Workshops, Field Days, and Grant Opportunities
Free Social Media Marketing Webinars and Starter Kits
Online all the time
We know farmers are busy all the time – that’s why we are creating FREE social media content to help you more effectively market your products to consumers, and have a recorded webinar series on our website and YouTube channel so you can watch and learn when you have time. Our first starter kit will be available starting Monday, May 26 – so sign up today! Visit our website to register and watch.
Have you ever dreamed of having your own farm? Farm Dreams is an interactive workshop designed to help you learn what it takes to do just that. Participants meet experienced sustainable farmers, learn about different successful farm enterprises, and ask questions about the genesis and development of local sustainable farm businesses. It covers resource assessment, goal setting, financial planning, and marketing options. The workshop costs $20 and includes a locally sourced dinner. To register, visit our website. Registration closes the Thursday before the workshop date–so sign up soon.
Farmland Transition Roundtable
The Launch Pad
315 E Front St, Bloomington, IL
Tuesday, June 17, 6:30-8:30p.m.
The Land Connection’s Roundtables are an easy way to start the important conversation about your farm’s future. You will meet others in similar situations, and have a facilitated discussion about what you’d like to see happen with your farmland. We will do some goals clarification, succession self-assessment, and you will have the opportunity to get information and feedback about your farmland situation, and offer feedback to others. Visit our website for more information.
Restoration Agriculture Workshop
Sun Dappled Farm
115 N Cramer Rd
Elmwood, IL 61529
Friday, May 30, 6:00 PM – Sunday, June 1, 2014 1:00 PM
A workshop to learn the basics of Permaculture and Restoration Agriculture from Mark Shepard, author of the bestselling Restoration Agriculture. Around the globe most people get their calories from annual agriculture – plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs – in your own backyard, farm or ranch. Mark’s teaching, based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offers exciting hope for our future. Friday evening is a free event open to the public. Come to get an introduction to Restoration Agriculture.
(Workshop includes all meals. Free camping available on-site. Limited indoor lodging available at additional cost – please contact organizers.) For more information, visit the event’s site.
Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
4410 N Lincoln
Champaign, IL 61822
June 23-25, 2014
The Land Connection will host its first Farmer Training Intensive, on agritourism, from June 23rd-25th at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in Champaign. Attendees will delve into the details of running agritourism operations by: receiving tours and presentations of four successful farms that will cover topics from start-up and capital access to pricing, regulation and infrastructure; learning from regional tourism boards and The Land Connection staff about the potential markets and opportunities for growth in agritourism; walking through the risks and risk mitigation strategies of successful agritourism businesses with a farm law expert; and observing the promise and the peril of an on-farm commercial kitchen and processing facility through both presentation and delicious meals provided by the farm’s chef. For more information or to register, visit our website.
Seeding the Next Generation of Farmers
2959 N. 2100 East Rd.
Fairbury, IL 61739 (Livingston County)
July 12, 2014, 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm
Are you interested in seeing first-hand success stories of four Livingston County young farmers? Spence Farm Foundation is partnering with the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network to host a field day on Saturday, July 12 at Spence Farm in Fairbury. The field day will feature four young farmers, Will Travis of Spence Farm, Derek Stoller of Windy Knoll Produce, and Carrie and Cassie Rickenberger of Garden Gate Produce, sharing the challenges and successes of entering the agriculture business world.
Tuesday, September 2: Springfield, U of I Extension office
Wednesday, September 3:Champaign, U of I Extension office
Friday, September 5: Carbondale, SIUC Dunn-Richmond Center
Tuesday, September 9:Grayslake, U of I Extension office
Sustainable farmers who run their own entrepreneurial businesses have a wide range of legal needs that include:
Creating a business entity
Writing by-laws and operating agreements
Negotiating land leases
Hiring employees and interns
Health department regulations for value-added or processed foods
Complying with a variety of production and marketing regulations
The Land Connection, in collaboration with Rachel Armstrong, lead attorney at Farm Commons, will present information, structure role-play interactions, and provide resources to help you effectively present and disseminate the legal information and tools that farmers need to become economically viable businesses, and the stable and resilient foundation of rural areas.
Our target audience is not necessarily lawyers – it is the people who are the organizers, presenters, and facilitators of farmer training programs aimed at sustainable farmers, including University and Extension personnel, community college instructors, and nonprofit sustainable agriculture personnel. Lawyers and farmers are welcome to attend. Each is a full day with lunch included – with four locations across Illinois, one is near you! To register for this free workshop, visit our website.
My favorite season is now. I will say this every time a new fruit or vegetable ripens and becomes available, either in my own urban farmette (as I like to call it), or at the farmers’ market. So today is my favorite time of year because I can pull crunchy radishes, lettuces in every shade of green–and a few reds– and a spicy array of herbs right out of my garden. And soon, thanks to the new hen ordinance in the city of Champaign, my favorite day will be egg season. I am already dreaming about poached eggs on thick beds of greens–add a Stewart’s bagel, and some chevre from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery…what else is there? Peas. Then there will be peas. Sugar snap peas, snow peas, any kind of peas. The point is that every time it happens, every time a new thing becomes available, I am just as excited as I was the first time–at that moment, it really is my favorite thing.
Help wanted for diversified livestock operation. Looking for a motivated, self-starter, who is familiar with livestock. Experience with farm equipment a plus. Primary role is animal care and feeding, farm maintenance and repairs. Must have/or obtain after hire a Class C drivers license. Trade and computer skills are a plus. Compensation commensurate with experience, paid hourly. Benefits include flexible hours and opportunity to work on a multitude of jobs throughout the day. Weekly hours generally around 30-50, variable according to the season. Contact Stan Schutte at Triple S Farms at 217-343-4740 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FARMLAND NEAR BATAVIA
Two acres of permanent growing beds for lease, will divide.Well water and ample supply of mulch and finished compost available on site. Two hoop houses can be included. Shed space (with electricity) for tools and equipment. Tomato cages, plastic hoops and other supplies also available. 75 old growth maple trees on site that can be tapped to make syrup. Good setup for beginning market gardener or family needing a large garden. Land is just west of Batavia and is ready for planting. Contact Tim Fuller for more information email@example.com
FARM MANAGER NEAR QUINCY
Looking for hard-working individual(s) with a passion for nature, the earth, and growing food! Help needed with growing produce for market and food coop Hancock County, 40 minutes from Quincy, IL. Owner will be available but ability to work independently is important. Flexible schedule, but looking for commitment throughout the growing season. Benefits include profits from produce sales, supplemental stipend, and available lodging at the property in primitive cabin. Owner will cover cost of seeds, plants, and other incidentals associated with approved projects. Must have own transportation. For more information, please call Rebecca at (217)592-2383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and see ad on TLC site.
FARM MANAGER IN WISCONSIN
Farm manager needed for 2014 season for small organic farm located between Dodgeville and Spring Green, WI. Approximately 8 acres of previously tilled land,plus additional acres, available for immediate planting or preservation. Housing available.
Beautiful land and home about 6 miles up from the Mississippi River town of Grafton. Land is bisected by a small creek and woods. It would make the perfect market or hobby farm for the right people. 33 raised 20′ x 4 feet beds currently in production, 18 of which are small fruits and asparagus. Plenty of room for expansion at the front of the property, or on upper acreage. I just want to see our dream carried on by someone who wants more than just a country retreat. Contact and other information here.