From cheese making to composting to animal adventures, our on-farm public programs offer inspiring ideas, hands-on skills, and fun experiences on the farm. Adults, kids, and families are welcome for tours, workshops, and programs throughout the year.
- Explore Food & Farming – walking tours, beekeeping, and more
- Fun for Families – day and overnight programs for the whole family
- Day Camps On the Farm! – day camps for kids
- From the Fields to the Kitchen – cheese making, soap making, and more
- Learn to Garden Organically – organic gardening and composting for the home gardener
- Sustainable Building Skills - "whole tree" architecture, building with cob, and more
Click on the title of each event below to view upcoming dates or download a PDF version of our calendar.
To learn more about the programs listed below, contact Liz Whitehurst, Program Director, at 815.389.8455 or email@example.com .
Note: Because this is a working farm and residence, we cannot accommodate unscheduled visitors.
Walking Tour of Angelic Organics
Join us for a tour and introduction to Angelic Organics, the Biodynamic vegetable farm in northern Illinois featured in the award-winning documentary film The Real Dirt on Farmer John. We will explore what makes this a biodynamic and community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. Learn basic strategies for growing food without chemical inputs and see the seasonal work underway at the farm. Wear sturdy shoes (conditions may be muddy!) and clothes appropriate for the weather.
Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture
Join us for an introduction to the comprehensive ecological methods behind the Biodynamic farming movement inspired by Rudolf Steiner. We'll explore the farm, learning how soils, plants, animals, and people together form a dynamic living organism. Hands-on activities will include preparation-making, applications to compost and fields, plant observations, and learning how to use planetary calendars. Co-hosted with Angelic Organics Learning Center and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.
Farm Dreams: Assessing Risks & Resources to Start a Small Farm or Market Garden
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own farm? In this interactive workshop, we'll learn about types of sustainable farming careers in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, take part in a series of self-assessments, and be better prepared to decide whether to pursue a farming business is the right choice for you. We'll hear about regional training opportunities through the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), university extension, small business development centers, and others. Includes a presentation of farming enterprises, a tour of a growing site, and an opportunity to ask questions about the development of successful local farms.
Curious about starting a small flock of chickens? In this workshop, we’ll address all you need to know before you get your birds: feeding, health, breeds, housing, protection from predators, year-round care, eggs, raising chicks and more.
Thinking about getting a goat? Come learn about the basics of different breeds, housing, feed requirements, breeding, pregnancy and birth. We’ll learn how to trim hooves, what to look for when purchasing your first goat, and the basics of milking and processing milk.
Animal Day for Families (Full day program)
Bring your kids to the farm for a day of hands-on experiences with the animals. Help the crew milk the goats, feed the horses, and gather eggs from the ducks and chickens. See how you can produce soil from kitchen scraps with worm boxes. Tour the farm and explore how animals fit into the rest of the farm. Make goat’s milk ice cream and enjoy a sack lunch under the trees near our new timber frame barn.
Preschool Programs (Preschoolers and parents)
Come to Angelic Organics Learning Center for our farming series especially for preschoolers and their caregivers. Wear clothes suitable for outside farm work.
Cornbread from the Ground Up (Coming Fall 2013)
Starting with ears of dried corn, we’ll cook up a feast of tasty cornbread. Family members of all ages are welcome to take turns as we shuck, shell, winnow and grind the corn. After gathering eggs and other goodies from the farm, we’ll bake our bread in an outdoor earthen oven. Learn about the long history of corn, and have a recipe and tips about seeds to bring home. Parents register with children.
In this program all about eggs, come meet the chickens and ducks, find out how baby birds develop, and collect colorful eggs from our rare-breed chickens. Using natural dyes, each family will color eggs to bring home. Children must be accompanied by adult.
Family Farm Overnight
Come pitch a tent in the savanna and enjoy family time, outdoor activities, a farm tour, interacting with the animals, and optional work projects. Gather food from the farm to prepare in an evening campfire and fresh breakfast. Bring camping gear.
Father's Day Overnight
Hey kids! Surprise dad with a camping trip at the farm for Father’s Day! You bring a tent, farming clothes, and your father, and we’ll have a fun time planned, with games, farm work, a campfire, and exploring the land. Gather food from the farm for a delicious dinner and breakfast.
Home-milked Ice Cream
Can you guess what three ingredients in ice cream come from the farm? Together, we’ll milk the goats, visit the beehive, and look for wild fruit on the land... then make up a batch of truly home-grown ice cream! Parents must accompany children.
Kids with Cob (Coming Fall 2013)
Come cooperate with others to construct a mini eco-village while learning natural building techniques. Use your hands to build model homes using a mixture of clay, sand and straw, called “cob”, then use your imagination to create stories about people in the community. While we build, we'll also bake bread in our cob oven. Parents must accompany children.
Come to the farm to learn about goats, play with the babies already born, and — if the timing is right — witness a live birth. You’ll join us to feed the animals and learn about goat pregnancy and birth. The visit comes with naming rights for any goats born under your watch. Children must be accompanied by adult.
Animal Chores for Kids
Work alongside our farmers as we feed and care for the livestock, including goats, chickens, cattle, and more. Special time each day to play with the baby goat kids, once the work is done!
Kids Cooking on the Farm
Kids have an opportunity to learn exactly where their food comes from as they prepare and create side dishes and dessert for an evening meal. Tour the farm, learn how to recognize different veggies, and harvest just like our field crew does. Back at the barn, you will meet the livestock, collect eggs and milk a goat. Then, create a fanciful and nutritious meal, including deviled eggs, silly salad, and a tasty (and cold!) dessert.
Get down and dirty with your favorite farm animals. We’ll work in the barnyard, do chores alongside the crew, groom the horse, milk the goats, and learn all about the roles of our livestock on the farm through games and hands-on work. Bring lunch and snacks daily.
Kids with Kids Mini-Day Camp
Our 3-day spring break mini-camp will introduce (people) kids to the goats, right in the middle of birthing season. Come explore the farm, work and play with the animals, and help care for baby goats and their mothers.
The farm animals at our Learning Center welcome your children to an exciting week of working, learning and exploring our educational farm. All children will help milk the goats and gather eggs from the chickens, while participating in a different theme each week. Programs for children entering grades 1 to 5 include: Playing with Your Food, What's Cookin' on the Farm, and Fun with Farm Animals. Youth entering grades 5 to 7 can take part in Farm Adventure Camp or Learn about Livestock. A shorter "Fun with Farm Animals" day camp is available for 4-7 year olds.
Cheese Making Workshop
This hands-on workshop in our farm setting will introduce the process of cheese making from start to finish (from milking the goats to tasting fresh goat’s cheese). We'll learn how to make ricotta, chevre, mozzarella, feta, and more!
Cheesemaking 2: Hard Cheeses
This hands-on class will cover the steps for making hard (not difficult, just firm-textured!) cheeses, including cooking curds, washing, cheddaring, pressing, salting, drying, aging, waxing and more. We’ll make two different kinds of cheese during the class, while learning variations for other hard cheeses as well. Prerequisite: Cheesemaking class.
Soap Making Workshop
Learn to make a wonderful and gentle soap using goat’s milk. Our lovely goats provide the milk, and our veteran soap-maker explains the process and facilitates the hands-on soapmaking. Everyone will make several bars of soap to bring home.
Wine Making Workshop
After introducing the science of winemaking, we’ll jump right into making a small batch of wine. Each participant will use wild fruits to make one gallon of wine starter (or “must”) for fermenting at home. Participants need to bring 3-5 pounds of fruit (preferably wild fruits such as mulberries or grapes); we'll supply a bucket, a fermentation lock, and tubing; you'll need a gallon glass jug, some sugar, and wine bottles back at home.
Food Preserving 101
The novice food preserver is invited to this basic introduction and practical skills course. After an overview of food safety and reasons to preserve, we jump right into hands-on demonstrations of freezing, dehydrating, and canning.
Ever wonder how to make pasta from scratch? Using fresh eggs and herbs from the farm, we'll explore the history, ingredients, tools and techniques for making multiple types of Italian pasta, including fettucini, ravioli and hand shaped pasta.
Eat Your Weeds! An Introduction to Wild Edibles
Come to the farm to learn how to identify wild edible plants. We’ll explore the woods looking for morels, garlic mustard, stinging nettle, raspberry shoots and more, then return to the kitchen to sample different recipes for your wild treasures.
Easy Dyes from Nature
Learn to forage for dye plants, including weeds, vegetables, barks, berries, teas and spices. After gathering plants from the land, we’ll set up mordant baths for the fabric using alum, salt, iron nails or vinegar to “set” the color. You’ll create your own colorful scarf to bring home. In addition, students can bring their own natural fiber fabric or articles of clothing to dye (cotton, linen, silk, wool, or hemp). Taught by Caron Wenzel of Blazing Star Nursery.
Versatile Herbs! Medicinal and Culinary Uses
Starting in the garden, we’ll harvest culinary herbs, and bring them back to the kitchen to learn a range of medicinal and culinary uses. We’ll discuss the qualities of different herbs and teach recipes for incorporating them therapeutically in the diet. You’ll learn techniques for creating natural body care products and make several to bring home. Taught by Evelyn Cooley of Wild Thyme Herb Garden and Silvia Abel-Caines of Organic Valley.
Lasagna Out of the Box and Into the Field
Make a fabulous lasagna totally from scratch! We’ll make homemade noodles with eggs you’ve gathered from the farm, cheese with milk from the goats, and sauce using vegetables from our community supported agriculture farm. Get ideas and tips for using seasonal vegetables, then, while the lasagna cooks, you’ll get to tour the farm to see the vegetables in the fields. The workshop will end by sharing a gourmet meal in our outdoor space.
Planning Your Organic Vegetable Garden
Lift the winter blues in this workshop on designing an organically managed home vegetable garden. We’ll talk about various methods for building soil, plus planning for space needs and crop rotation. Especially for beginning gardeners, or those ready to convert to non-chemical techniques. Bring your dreams for this year's garden, and leave with a garden map and planting calendar. Bring a sack lunch.
The "Ins" and "Outs" of Composting
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 tour our farm-scale compost operation. Meet the worms in our vermiculture system, and find out how to implement indoor composting at home. Dress to work outside!
Starting Your Organic Vegetable Garden
Celebrate spring by learning techniques for organic soil preparation and planting. We’ll learn about soil texture and soil life, plus how our Biodynamic farm tends and feeds the earth. We’ll cover the basics of double digging, prepare a garden bed, and learn about seeding and transplanting through hands-on projects. Dress to work in the garden, and bring lunch.
Fruit Trees 101
Interested in growing your own fruit without chemicals? Learn about variety selection, siting, planting methods, sustainable care, accommodating “pests” and disease, and proper pruning techniques to maximize longevity and yields. Get hands-on experience as we prune the fruit trees in our orchard.
Organic Herbs from the Garden
Learn how to grow herbs in your outdoor garden, as well as indoors for year round use. We’ll cover tips for growing and harvesting a range of culinary herbs that can be used for therapeutic and medicinal purposes as well. Each student will make a self watering herb basket to take home. Includes a garden tour. Taught by Evelyn Cooley of Wild Thyme Herb Garden and Silvia Abel-Caines of Organic Valley.
Earth Oven and Cob Bench Workshop
Come join us for some mud work and learn to build with cob, a sustainable building material. The oven and benches were started in an earlier workshop; you'll get to learn the process from the ground up, but have the privilege of finishing the creation. Earth ovens are a great introduction to natural building, using age-old techniques and simple materials such as clay, sand, and straw. The emphasis will be on hands-on learning as we learn to mix cob and earthen plaster, and provide you with the skills to build an oven in your own backyard. This workshop is held off site at the beautiful Dome Education & Gathering Center in Roscoe, IL.
Sustainable Building Design
Sustainable architect Roald Gundersen will present an overview of sustainable building design options, show examples of his recent design work, and interpret the features of the Learning Center buildings (including whole tree architecture, passive solar heating, strawbale walls, and two styles of composting toilets). The afternoon will provide an opportunity for students to create charrettes of their own dream buildings, then receive feedback and guidance on finding local resources from Roald.
Whole Tree Architecture
Learn state-of-the-art skills in sustainable construction that you can apply to your own building projects using trimmings from your backyard trees. We'll receive expert instruction in whole tree design, framing and finishing from architect Roald Gundersen. In this hands-on workshop, you'll learn about forestry, tree selection, peeling bark, and assembling a simple structure. The finished product is functional, beautiful, and inspiring!