The new Homegrown by Heroes initiative has been making waves around the country. On the surface this label serves as a marketing initiative, displaying proudly the products grown by members and veteran of the U.S. armed forces and garnering support for these businesses. But the power of this campaign flows much deeper to those who are a part of it.
We have seen stories before of how farming and growing has helped individuals cope with tragedy and loss. As growers ourselves, we have experienced the joy and accomplishment that comes with growing our own food to fruition and sharing it with our communities. It is no surprise that growing food can affect people in big ways.
And yet, Homegrown by Heroes is more than that even. This campaign brings veterans together again, renewing feelings of brotherhood and camaraderie, functioning as a beam of support for those who have come back from war. Our veterans have returned from overseas to a country where few can understand what they have sacrificed or gone through. They have come home to a place where they sometimes feel they no longer belong. The inherent nature of farming, of structure, of independence and hard work gives veterans a chance at a new beginning. Homegrown by Heroes offers a new home for our heroes, a community away from war, but not forgetting it.
Even as these heroes find a community though, we can hardly forget to remember that they continue to be heroes to our communities once again. Farmer-veterans like Sarah Creech and Alicia Moore provide food for our families through their hard work on Blue Yonder Organic Farm in North Salem, IN. These twice-over heroes continue to work everyday for our communities; how will you thank them?
Central Illinois Farm Beginnings: Deadline Sept. 1!
Whether you’re interested in growing fresh fruits and vegetables for local markets, turkeys and geese for the holidays, or ancient grains for regional markets, the Central Illinois Farm Beginnings staff, farmer-instructors, and farmer-mentors can help you jump-start your farm business.
During Central Illinois Farm Beginnings you will build a sound business plan, get on-farm experience, and connect with many successful local farmers during each seminar and through the field day and mentorship components.
Over two-thirds of our graduates are currently farming–heading up successful small businesses that generate jobs, steward Illinois farmland, and meet the growing consumer demand for high-quality, locally grown food. We invite you to join them!
Come learn all about beekeeping from Arvin Pierce, an expert in treatment-free beekeeping. He will do a detailed presentation, demonstrate honey extraction and open a hive and show us the nitty-gritty details of his craft. Register by August 20. Open to the general public, with $15 registration fee. For more information, visit our website.
Livingston County Farm Crawl
August 23 and 24, 2014
Come visit five working farms in Livingston County, all just 30 to 45 minutes south of the intersection of I-80 and I-55. Demonstrations include goat milking, solar oven use, and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about emus. More information on their website.
Farmers Markets: Rules, Regulations and Reforms
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
August 25, 1-2:30 p.m.
August 28, 6-7:30 p.m.
Two webinars will provide an opportunity for farmers market vendors and farmers market managers to learn about new regulations and reforms that impact farmers markets and provide input to the Governor-appointed Illinois Farmers Market Task Force about future farmers market regulations. This year the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Quinn signed into law HB5657, Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets, that made a number of reforms to farmers market regulations in Illinois to support consistency, transparency and economic opportunity. This webinar will provide an overview of the reforms that HB5657 made and what farmers and market managers need to know about the new law.
Register here or call the Sangamon Menard Extension office at (217) 782-4617.
Central Illinois Farm Beginnings
Scholarship Deadline September 1, 2014
If you want to plan and launch your own sustainable farm business, register now for our year-long, farmer-led program. Some scholarships are available.
Food Forest, Cover Crops, Soil Health, and Adding Value through Diversity
September 4, 2014 9am-12pm
Topics covered at this free field day (lunch included!) will include off the grid grazing; controlled drainage systems; balancing soil health and micronutrients; the “3Crop” farming system; value adding techniques; and three on-going university research projects. Speakers will include Dave Bishop ofPrairiErth Farm; Dr. Sam Wortman of the University of Illinois Crop Sciences department; Dr. Bill Becker, crop consultant; Liz Pegg, doctoral student at Illinois State University; and Cassandra Wilcoxen, University of Illinois. For more information,click hereor contact Dave Bishop firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Issues Workshops
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
If you work with sustainable farmers, this workshop is for you! Learn all about the wide range of legal needs that entrepreneurial farmers may need help with, including:
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, role-play interactions, and 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.
These workshops will be of particular value to organizers, presenters, and facilitators of farmer training programs, University and Extension personnel, community college instructors, and nonprofit staff. Each The workshops are a full-day and include lunch. With four locations across Illinois, there is one near you! To register for this free workshop, visit our website.
Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
September 27, 2014
Saving seed is a practice as old as agriculture itself and yet it has faded with the advent of hybrid seed and a decrease in home and small-scale production. In this three hour workshop, Vicki Nowicki, founder of theLiberty Gardens Seed-Lending Library, will first discuss the principles of seed saving, then take us to the plot of Heirloominous Farm just outside Champaign, where she will demonstrate how to save lettuce and bean seeds.Register on our website.
Whole Farm Technical Assistance Program
Pembroke Farming Family Association
Pembroke Farming Family in Kankakee is offering technical assistance to Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers (experienced farmers and new farmer training participants). The program covers production, marketing, and financial aspects of the farm business process, including assessing your resources; budgets and record keeping. Established farmers who are Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producers can improve their business planning and management skills by participating in this program. For more information, visit their website.
Free Social Media Marketing Webinars and Starter Kits
Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana and Peoria
Lunch the first Tuesday and dinner the third Thursday June through October
The Local Flavors series, an Illinois Stewardship Alliance sponsored event, brings together restaurant owners and Central Illinois farmers to provide monthly lunch and dinner events to the public. To see the schedule for your city, visit the
The Land Connection is conducting a survey to learn more about the needs of landowners, and current and aspiring farmers. Your responses will be a great help as we develop programs to better serve your needs. Your responses are confidential and will be reported only as aggregate data.
As I watched the children create works of art at our Art at the Market tent at the Urbana Market this weekend, I took note of how passionately they worked towards creating something beautiful out of their limited supplies of eco-paint, paper plates and cut up vegetables (many of which they couldn’t even name). I watched them focus on the task at hand and, when they were finished, look with pride on what they were able to create. Not one thought “How could I possibly make art out of this?” (as I initially did). Yes, children are our future, but we are our present, and maybe we could stand to learn a few things from them…
I would love a piece of land on which I can grow tree crops in or near Chicago.
My goal is to start my own permaculture-based organic farm within the next two years, and to eventually incorporate educational empowerment programs for youth who lack parents. I plan to cultivate, wild-craft, and forage for nutrient-dense foods and medicinal plants on my farm, and ultimately create a healing farmstay retreat which the youth will help run. Contact Katharine Egan at 224-392-2275 or email@example.com.
BELVIDERE, IL FARMLAND WITH HOME AND OUTBUILDINGS
Income Producing Property. Great Weekend Getaway. Modern, beautifully kept 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch home, 2 machine sheds (one with AC/heat) and a cattle/horse barn (with water) on 40 acres in Spring Township just east of Belvidere, Illinois. Property is well suited for cattle operation and/or to become an organic, locally grown, farming operation. A unique country retreat. 73 miles northwest of Chicago, IL. 82 miles southeast of Madison, WI. Contact Ray Brownfield, Managing Broker at Land Pro, LLC, 630.258.4800 or www.landprollc.us.
FARMLAND IN WHITEHALL, IL
Looking for a dedicated farmer to farm 133 acres, 90-96 tillable, some pasture and remainder in woods and creek bottom. 1/3 acre certified organic blackberry patch. Only second year in production produced over 1750 lbs of blackberries. Approximately 90-92 acres in legumes in transition, ready for 2015 certified corn or bean crop. 2400 square foot farm house, new windows, older barn.
If interested in either buying or renting, contact Nathan at 217-370-4370. WORKER/MANAGER FOR 25-ACRE SUSTAINABLE FARM NEAR OGDEN, IL
Looking for hard-working individual(s) with a passion for restoration agriculture. Help needed with nurturing (and eventually harvesting) 2-acres of woody perennial polyculture. Need help creating a big year-round greenhouse to grow produce. Also need help to create a silvo-pasture for cattle and pigs. For more information, please call Marcia at (217) 582-2112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NURSERY FOR SALE IN GODFREY, IL
Greenhouse fully enclosed for 4 acres, trucks, generators, tools, hose, growing benches, file drawers, desks, computers, growing pots, heating equipment, etc. Everything that is needed to run the business is for sale. Asking price is $450,000. Contact Vivian Moncken at Lauschke Realtors at 618-558-1551.
FORTY ACRES NEAR EASTON, IL
Nonfarming siblings own 40 acres near Easton, IL and want the land to be farmed more sustainably and are looking for options. They do not want to sell at this time, but are interested in an opportunity to help a sustainable farmer get started. Call 425-238-7290 or email email@example.com for more information.