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Beekeeping Basics: The Bees’ Knees Needs

Beekeeping at LotFotL (Living off the Fat of the Land) Community Farm

Arriving at LotFotL Community Farm on Tuesday, CRAFTers were greeted by some exceedingly healthy and jolly-looking pigs (as well as an impressive heap of winter squash).  However, it was a few hundred thousand head of LotFotL’s other livestock that was the focus of this beekeeping field day.

Beekeeper and farm manager April Yuds (pictured here with LotFotL owner/operator Tim Huth) started off this incredibly informative session with a tour of a Langstroth style hive and an overview of all...

Here at Angelic Organics Learning Center, we love chickens.

So much so that we have staff who have worked in their cities, towns, and villages to overturn the chicken laws so that residents can have feathered friends in their own backyard. (By the way, congratulations Roscoe, IL!)

We love chickens so much that we frequently stop a conversation mid-sentence to gawk at their awkardly hilarious run.

We love chickens and we can't get enough of them.

In light of this chicken-love, we recently decided that enough was enough. It was officially time for "Bring Your Chicken to Work" Day.

...

This Sunday the sun shown brightly and warmed up Chicagoland just in time for our CRAFT field day. On September 14th, CRAFT members gathered at Green Earth Institute in Naperville, IL, to learn about postharvest handling. Amongst the group of CRAFT members were also special guests - four students from the horticulture department at College of DuPage, enrolled in "Organic Vegetable Production" taught by CRAFT farm member Kim Marsin of Sweet Home Organics.

Green Earth Institute is surrounded by many subdivisions within a suburb of Chicago. The farm is 60 acres total so it’s not really constituted...

farm dinner, angelic organics, peak harvest farm dinner, local food event, benefit event, angelic organics learning center, field-to-table

A golden glow blanketed the field of organic leeks and lettuce as guests made their way to their tables overlooking the colorful crops at Angelic Organics Farm. They gathered for a gourmet, 5-course meal prepared by celebrity chefs from Chicago and Rockford with produce and meat sourced directly from the farm.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is all about building relationships and supporting one another through good times and bad. Most CSA farmers rely on the money they make through their shares to support their families and many cannot afford health insurance or have very limited coverage. If a farmer or a member of their family becomes ill, they sometimes have to reach out to their community for support.

In June, one of our CRAFT farmers, Lori Vierow of Bob's Fresh and Local was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL for short. Lori's insurance does not cover all of her...

Molly Bresline of Breslin Farms, a CRAFT farm

The morning after a series of thunderstorms and strong winds moved through northern Illinois, twelve CRAFT members traveled along miles of wind-damaged cornfields to convene at Breslin Farms to learn about how the Breslins incorporate cover crops into their rotations. While the Breslin’s rye field experienced wind damage, our hosts remained optimistic about being able to harvest the crop, speculating about its resiliency due to years of cover crop benefits—nicely prefacing the day’s conversation.

Father-and-daughter team John and Molly Breslin are in their fourth year of transitioning a family farm from conventional to organic row crops. They focus...

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It’s mid-year, and our Farm Asset Builder participants are well into their growing season. They have also reached the midpoint of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farm Asset Builder Program—a program in its inaugural year. The Farm Asset Builder Program is a matched savings program that provides farmers with the opportunity and motivation to save. At the end of our pilot year, farmers in compliance with program requirements will receive up to $2,400 to contribute to a farm asset thanks to our sponsors and donors.

Our sponsors are helping farmers gain...

Peak Harvest Farm Dinner at Angelic Organics 2013

The 7th annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner is the largest fundraising event for Angelic Organics Learning Center and there are many ways to contribute.

Farming with Horses 2014 CRAFT Field Day

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

Nestled in-between subdivisions, highways, and strip malls is the farm home of Lane Linnenkohl’s two Percheron draft horses: Molly and Sally and two Morgans: Daisy and Violet.  Lane keeps his horses at a farm that his cousin leases; his cousin uses this land to grow corn. A bank located just across the street owns this farm and Lane struck a nice deal with them. Instead of the bank having to pay someone to come in and brush hog the adjacent lots twice a year, Lane hays these fields free of charge. Lane uses...

Integrating Livestock into Vegetable Operations Field Day

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It was one of the first great, sunny, spring days of the year when CRAFT Farmers gathered with Matt and Peg Schaeffer in Monroe, Wisconsin to learn about Sandhill Family Farms' efforts to incorporate livestock into their vegetable farming operations. Sandhill Family Farms operates a well-known community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that serves the Chicago area, and Matt and Peg’s family recently obtained a herd of sheep to diversify the farm's offerings to customers in the fall.

Field day participants eagerly listened while Matt explained the importance of protecting and maintaining pasture in...

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