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Dear friends:

If you haven't seen all the hubbub about Walmart's global sustainability initiative announced on Oct. 14th, check these out:

http://walmartstores.com/Video/?id=1225

http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10376.aspx

I met one of the consultants working with Walmart HQ on this initiative when I was in Europe last year on tour of Biodynamic farms with farmer John.  I realized I had met this consultant back at the Earth Summit in 1992 in Brazil.  I like him and he is very sharp and creative.  He was convinced that Walmart was going to take a leap ahead of many nonprofits and governments...

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...

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...

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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...

Chickens can be raised in your backyard

We have experienced an overwhelming level of interest in our Backyard Chickens workshops this Spring. Our recent workshop in March sold out with 35 attendees--and a waiting list. When we presented at this year's Family Farmed Expo in Chicago, an estimated 150 were in attendance with standing room only. Everyone wants chickens!

 

In addition to hosting Backyard Chickens workshops, AOLC Chicago Program Director Martha Boyd also manages a Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts google group. The group brings together a flock of folks in and around Chicago to share stories and promote best practices in raising chickens. Many...

Food Policy Councils: Lessons Learned

 

Published by Food First and Community Food Security Coalition, December 2009 

 

By Alethea Harper, Annie Shattuck, Erik Holt-Giménez, Alison Alkon and Frances Lambrick. December 2009, 66 pages.

 

Based on an in-depth survey of 48 Food Policy Councils, the authors found
that despite dozens of successful case studies, Food Policy Councils
tend to encounter similar challenges, challenges that can sometimes
stymie progress, and must be countered with careful planning and
evaluation. This report contains tips and case studies for successful
...

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The University of Illinois Extension-Winnebago County and the Winnebago County Local Foods Working Group present a film screening:

 

Fresh: New thinking about what we're eating. A flim by ana Sofia joanes.

 

"We all know about the problems with the American food system, but what about the solutions? FRESH is a bracing, even exhilarating look at the whole range of efforts underway to renovate the way we grow food and feed ourselves." - Michael Pollan, author of "Botany of Desire," "In Defense of Food- an Eater's Manifesto" and "The Omnivore's Dillemma."

 

The...

2009 Farm Beginnings Students

Along with the expanding awareness of the benefits of local and organic produce, interest in sustainable, organic farming is growing in our region.  This fall, the Learning Center’s Stateline Farm Beginnings program experienced a rapid spike in demand, when 29 farm families applied for the 15 available slots.

 

Farm Beginnings is a business training course that helps new and emerging farmers develop a strategic farm business plan.

 

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 Teachers often ask us about incubating eggs at school to teach students about biology, chickens, farming, and food. We asked Chicago chicken keepers if they would like to get their hens from classroom hatching projects. Reflections: 

  1. BIOLOGICAL REALITY IS: about half of the eggs will hatch out male chicks – and there’s no way to know which before they hatch (except a new method that measures estrogen levels inside the shell.) Right after hatching, sex-linked varieties can be distinguished (boys from girls) by color of certain feathers, for instance. Otherwise,
  2. ...

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