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Thank You for Being a Hen: Chicken enthusiasts take roost in Chicago.

Journalist Nic Halverson quotes the Learning Center's Chicago Urban Initiative Program Director Martha Boyd and the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts in the recent cover story, "Thank You for Being a Hen," for Mindful Metropolis. 

 

"Riding high on the momentum of the local food movement’s ascent from the fringes into a more mainstream public consciousness, in the last few years, the renaissance of urban agriculture has cities nationwide revisiting old ordinances and drafting new laws to allow for small-scale backyard chicken keeping." writes Halverson.

The article provides an overview of the ...

Image: Late season kale at Angelic Organics Farm

 

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Building Community Food Systems in Rockford

Angelic Organics Learning Center is proud to announce a recent award from the USDA Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program. The Learning Center is one of only 27 organizations nationwide to receive this award to build build community food systems. These awards were made through the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA.)

 

The award will support our work with youth and adult leadership teams to build community food security in Rockford,  Illinois. The Learning Center's programming in Rockford has grown out of the plans, visions, and talents of the ...

Miss Juanita Chickie

We said goodbye this week to one of our colleagues. Miss Juanita Chickie was a nine-year old Araucana chicken, and a fine host indeed for our education programs.

 

She was raised by young Adam, who carried her pretty much continuously when she was a spring chicken. Thanks to his attentiveness and care, Miss Juanita was by far and away our most amenable chicken to handling. Nary a squawk if a first-time chicken holder would lift her from the ground.

 

Consequently, thousands of children (and quite possibly hundreds of adults) had their first up close and personal experience...

Grown By Rockford Youth

Come celebrate with the Learning Center and the South West Rockford Community Garden Cooperative Partnership as we celebrate a successful and very fruitful first growing season!

 

On Friday, October 29, from 11:00am-2:30pm at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens, 411 Kent St in Rockford, we will be celebrating the harvest season and expressing our appreciation for all of our 2010 volunteers.

 

In its first year, the South West Rockford Community Gardens Partnership has already made a big impact in South West Rockford and beyond. Over 100 youth from the community have put in over...

The Zinnicker Family Farm stewards Wisconsin farm-land using organic, Biodynamic methods--and hosts field days for our farmer training programs

Paul Dietmann, a regular speaker for Stateline Farm Beginnings, was recently appointed Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection!   "Paul's work ethic and his commitment to service will serve him, the agency and the people of Wisconsin well," commented Randy Romanski, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "He brings great energy to everything he does, and he is an important part of the team here at DATCP," he said. Read the full DATCP Press Release for more information.   Here at the Learning...

Gunther Hauk tending bees-Biodynamic style

The Learning Center's partnership in Rogers Park, including Heartland Alliiance, Chicago Waldorf School, and others, has developed a vibrant urban beekeeping program. We are excited to announce that Gunther Hauk, biodynamic gardener and beekeeper, teacher and lecturer, will offer a workshop on Biodynamic Beekeeping at Chicago Waldorf School this Friday.

 

When:  October 15, 2-5 pm
Where:  Chicago Waldorf School Physics Lab, 1319 W Loyola Ave
Suggested Donation: $25
RSVP's: In advance to Brian Gleichauf at bgleichauf@chicagowaldorf.org

 

Mr. Hauk will speak about methods...

A Bike festival on 10.10.10

Please join the Youth Leaders and the Roots & Wings network at Go Bike! Rockford, on Sunday, October 10th at Brown Park in Rockford. The Youth Leaders and Roots & Wings network, is coordinated by Angelic Organics Learning Center through our Urban Initiative in Rockford.

Go Bike! Rockford is a public festival promoting the reduction of carbon emissions by establishing and maintaining pro-bicycle culture and urban food systems in Rockford, IL. The event will feature a mini farmers market held by the Youth Leaders, a free bike clinic, a BMX demo, street art expo...

On a beautiful September Sunday, people gathered from near and far for a hands-on (and feet) learning experience building an earthen oven.

 

The events started with introductions and presentation by Randy Mermel and Judy Speer on the hows and whys of building with cob, which stimulated many great questions and conversations. We tried to keep the presentation to a minimum so we could get outside and get busy with the cob. Before the potluck lunch, we built the brick oven entrance, laid the fire bricks for the oven floor and prepared the sand form that would act to hold...

 Image: 2010 Stateline Farm Beginnings graduates

 

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Randy Mermel and Michael Suess utilizing whole tree architecture for the cob oven shelter.

The cob oven workshop is quickly approaching! The work crew has been busy preparing the area for the cob workshop.  It is essential to have a good roof and a strong foundation when building with cob so it lasts.  The foundation was completed over the summer using reclaimed urbanite. Last week, Michael Suess and Randy Mermel harvested local locust trees and began building the unique structure for the earth oven shelter.  Whole tree architecture is being utilized for its strength and asthetic value, as well as economic and ecological benefits.  There are still spaces available for the upcoming workshop.  This will...

Building a Cob Oven

Many visitors who have come to the farm in the past 2 years have enjoyed fresh baked bread and pizza from our unique oven.  In addition to learning about the process of artisan baking, they have also had the opportunity to learn about this form of sustainable building.  This earth oven is made from cob.  Cob is one of the oldest building materials.

 

It is a mixture of clay, sand, and straw; making it simple to source locally.  There is no need to ship in building materials. A variety of groups have utilized the earth oven,...

By Constance McCarthy

One of the places that makes my heart happiest is Angelic Organics, a biodynamic farm in northern Boone County. But wait. Isn't this series supposed to be about biodiversity? Indeed, it is. As biodiversity refers to the diversity of plant and animal life within a particular area, I don't think that it is constructive to draw lines around certain parcels of land within which we're concerned about biodiversity, while overlooking the overall biodiversity of all the land within an area.

Roots & Wings participants visit the ECO Co-op managed by AOLC volunteer Dietrich McGaffey

Learning Center board member and volunteer Constance McCarthy shares her experience of a recent educational trip to Chicago with Roots & Wings youth.

 

Early on Friday, June 18, the Roots & Wings Youth Leaders headed into Chicago for a two-day whirlwind urban agriculture tour and team-building activities. The EcoAdvocates, the newest member of the Roots & Wings network, joined us on Friday, as well. At the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, we met Martha Boyd, Director of Angelic Organics Learning Center's Chicago Urban Initiative and our tour guide for...

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The picnic bench at the farm was filled with goat milk ice cream, black raspberries and mulberries, and three plates of brownies filled with “mystery” vegetables. Campers in our cooking day camp had baked brownies, each group with a secret ingredient from the farm. A blind taste test revealed that the favorite dessert was made with...beets!

 

One of the campers said, “When I told my mom what our secret ingredient was, we were both kind of grossed out because we don’t like beets, but then, it was my favorite cake of all!”

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In our closing circle, the twenty-five third graders shared highlights from the three days they spent at the farm.  I was impressed and a bit awed by the diversity of answers from our intrepid group of young campers.

 

“Milking goats.”
“Walking in the creek”
“Carting hay to the compost”
“Whacking weeds”
“Helping stir and spray the Biodynamic compost”
“Planting in the garden”
“Being able to look up the hill and see the tree and the skyline and the clouds.”
“Going up in the hayloft”
“Hearing the roosters in the morning.”
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A Collection of Seasonal Recipes

Angelic Organics Learning Center is proud to introduce a new cook book, 24 Boxes :: 1 Book, written, designed, and published by our friend Jen Mayer.  Jen became a shareholder of our partner farm, Angelic Organics, in 2006, and has been blogging about her weekly vegetables since 2007. In her blog, 24 boxes, she shares seasonal recipes created with ingredients from Angelic Organics and Grass is Greener Gardens. 24 Boxes :: 1 Book distills this collection, adding helpful extras, including a seasonal...

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The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University released a multi-state economic impact study on increases in fruit and vegetableimage production in a six-state area (including Illinois and Wisconsin) that was released this past week. Fresh Taste and the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council, partners to the project, released the report in Illinois with a press conference on April 28th. As a co-chair of the Council that released the report in Illinois, I see...

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