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Peter Seely, Springdale Farm, CRAFT

Winter briefly returned with cold winds and snow flurries for our past Field Day, but that did not stop fifteen CRAFT farmers from visiting Springdale Farm in Plymouth, WI, to learn about tools and machinery from farmer Peter Seely.

Peter Seely, Springdale Farm, CRAFT Bernadette and Peter Seely started Springdale farm in 1988 after spending a number of years together in Holland. Before leaving Europe, they packed several shipping containers with tools and machinery (including some seldom-seen items such as a leek lifter and a steerage hoe) to commence an almost thirty-year process of constant experimentation. Peter says that “equipment...

Unfortunately, bird flu is in the news again..and it's a serious concern for all poultry owners in the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Illinois. A strain of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), variant H5N2, has been discovered in numerous Midwestern states within the past month or so. This virus has not been transmitted to people or entered the food supply, but literally millions of chickens and turkeys have already died or been euthanized due to this disease. It has affected both large commercial operations and small backyard flocks, so it's time for every poultry owner in Illinois to take precautions and begin...

Make Moving Pictures, Pablo Korona, Yatte Moore, Tia Smith, Roots & Wings, Blackhawk Courts

Yatte Moore discovered two passions and talents in the past two years that he didn't know he possessed: farming and filmmaking. Yatte's brother Desmond Moore was working with Angelic Organics Learning Center at Blackhawk Courts Farm & Gardens and got his older brother involved. Farming wasn't easy work, but Yatte found that he was good at it. "It made me a man," Yatte explains of working on the farm.

He discovered he possessed another talent when he enrolled in Make Moving Pictures Film School, a project sponsored by Rockford Housing Authority (RHA), Community Foundation of Northern Illinois,...

Boreson Farms, organic farm, CRAFT, Wisconsin

The Learning Center’s Farmer Training Initiative would like to introduce the new participants in our Farm Asset Builder program for 2015, the second year of this program.  Farm Asset Builder is a matched savings account program in which participants’ savings toward an approved farm asset are matched in a two-to-one ratio while they participate in a customized menu of financial management education and technical assistance opportunities.

Penny Peterson, Wishful Acres Farm
“Wishful Acres Farm began as a "wish" over 10 years ago, and became a reality in 2009. Our small family farm consists of several acres...

Helloooo?  Spring?  Are you there, Spring? ...Anyone?  Oh!  There you are!  Don’t EVER scare me like that again!  We were SO WORRIED about you.  We at Roots & Wings are ready to get outdoors and make something good come out of our small piece of Earth.  

We planted our new apple, pear, plum and cherry trees, and we see the garlic popping up that we put in last fall.  Ms Janice has been flyering...

On Valentine’s Day 2015, a happy crowd gathered at the Chicago High School for Agriculture Sciences for the 3rd annual Urban Livestock Expo. Sponsored by Angelic Organics Learning Center with partners Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts, the Expo offered visitors intensive sessions on raising chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, quails, honeybees, and solitary bees in their backyards.

    - Presenter Abe Lentner’s daughter Lucy showed off her ribbon-winning ducks.
    - Ryan Detwiler shared his enthusiasm for Coturnix quails (which he and husband Corey Gilson call “kitchen chickens”) while Corey greeted visitors eager...

    good food festival, chicago, farm hack

    Grab your lunch and come join farmers from around the regional foodshed in an open session to share your best farm hacks: innovative techniques and tools that you've developed or discovered to save time, energy and, of course, money. From root washers to chicken feeders, discuss your best ideas and systems, and present your prickly problems to other farmers.

    The Rockford Urban Initiative announces its 2015 Cares & Shares CSA program, coordinated by our committed Youth Leaders! Our 10-week summer share provides you with clean, healthy, dazzling vegetables (and sometimes melons!) every Wednesday, all of which is grown, harvested, and packed by Rockford youth.

    Snowy garden, George Washington Carver

    I find myself at the sleeping farm on 15th Ave in Rockford, Illinois. The scene and mood is sterile compared with the energy and hubbub of the summer growing season. I miss growing fresh vegetables, cooking with the youth leaders and the people that visit Blackhawk Courts Farm and Gardens. I try to wish the snow away, but then stop. Every season even a snowy winter is part of a grand scheme. Snowflakes as well as compost replenish our earth.

    Jessica Rinks, Purple Leaf Farm, Beginning Farmer of the Year Awar

    Locally grown produce and agriculture has seen a recent surge in popularity. Consumers enjoy a fresh, sustainable, and often organic product that supports their local communities. This demand for local food has encouraged more young people to take up farming as a career. One of these farmers, Jessica Rinks of Purple Leaf Farms, will be recognized with the 3rd annual Beginning Farmer of the Year Award at the opening symposium of the Good Food Festival & Conference on Friday, March 20, 10:15 AM at Chicago’s UIC Forum.


    This post is part of an ongoing blog series - The Real Dirt on On-Farm Educators - created by Lauren Strug, our Duffy Community Partnerships Intern from Beloit College. Although Deb’s primary work is overseeing all of our initiative as the Senior Program Director, she also leads on-farm programs. Keep reading to learn more about Deb!

    How long have you worked at Angelic Organics?

    I started in 2004, so I’m starting my twelfth year.

    What experiences inform your work at the Learning Center?

    I’m the...

    Martha Boyd of Angelic Organics Learning Center and Billy Burdett of AUA

    In search of a fun and informative Valentine’s Day excursion? What says "I love ewe" better than taking your date to the Urban Livestock Expo? Angelic Organics Learning Center, Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts will present the 3rd Annual Urban Livestock Expo on February 14, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHAS) at 3857 W. 111th Street in Chicago.

    The Expo offers new and experienced keepers of urban livestock the chance to learn about caring for a variety of animals, and to...

    Young Professionals Association, Chicago, organic

    We’re excited to announce the Young Professionals Association, or YPA, a new network that will help us build the local food system. The YPA is a group of energetic, young-at-heart professionals in their twenties and thirties who support the mission and programs of the Learning Center. YPA members work together to broaden the Learning Center outreach through the young professional community and raise funds to support Angelic Organics Learning Center.

    Roots & Wings home at Rockford Housing Authority

    Ever wonder where Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Rockford Office is located?
    For the last two years, we have been located on First Street, across from Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, but we are saying goodbye to that location.

    CRAFT Field Day at Tiny Tempest Farm

    On Tuesday, January 20th about 20 CRAFT members squeezed into Sheri Doyel’s home at Tiny Tempest Farm in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for the Small Farm Operations Panel Discussion. The field day was originally supposed to be in a more ‘farmy’ room in one of the barns but the heater was too loud and the room was too cold… So we took to the indoors.

    Garlic drying

    Guest blog by Jeff Hake, Farmer Training Program Manager, The Land Connection

    Although I’m not currently farming, I love reading industry rags. So when Vegetable Growers News showed up at our office recently, I was excited. Headlines like “Higher potato consumption goal of social...

    goat new year, cute farm animals, funny goats

    Curious, playful, smart, and stubborn are just a few of the adjectives describing one of the most entertaining animals in a farm. This year, however, goats are getting their moment in the sun as 2015 marks the Year of the Goat (and sheep) in the Chinese Zodiac. Angelic Organics Learning Center is offering several special programs to give the public an opportunity to spend time with these fun animals. Children have the chance to kid around with the goats at two upcoming spring events at Angelic Organics farm. Kidwatch is a full-day event on March 28 that gives children...

    Vernice King at the Eat to Live Garden in Englewood, E2L, urban agriculture, urban farming, chicago

    Angelic Organics Learning Center is excited to announce a generous grant from The Cedar Tree Foundation to support the Eat to Live (E2L) project in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Angelic Organics Learning Center and the E2L partners are installing an urban agriculture campus at the intersection of 70th Place and South Princeton Avenue, incorporating both an Urban Farm Incubator and a Community and Learning Garden.

    Every time we eat, we're placing a vote either toward our old, environmentally harmful food system, or a new, sustainable one. As both chef and scholar, Dan Barber holds an interesting perspective on sustainable fish farming: he's not only interested in helping the planet, but is also concerned with serving his customers delicious food. In his in-depth TED Talk, Barber explains the ins-and-outs of creating a sustainable eco-system for farming that benefits the earth and animals, as well as produces delicious food.

    Who could have guessed? Through a crazy set of coincidences, chance encounters, and beginners luck, a tincture made from the scent of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s amazing goat buck, Addam, will be featured in an upcoming class on animalic basenotes for perfumemaking at the prestigious Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles.

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