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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...

Over the years, Nellie has shown numerous goats at 4-H competitions and won many blue ribbons. She has also taken the Farm Leadership Camp several years, volunteered her help at many day camps (see photo below of her handing out hand-made gold medals for the farm Olympics she created), and currently works on the livestock crew. This summer, Nellie will be starting as a Junior On Farm Educator and helping share her immense knowledge of the livestock and her passion for farming with young kids.

Farm Beginnings Farm Finance Program Coordinator Meg Augustine Angelic Organics

Sunshine (well intermittent sunshine at least-- oh the joys of an Illinois spring), fresh air, happy goats, proud, industrious farmers, and a welcoming, knowledgeable staff. In a phrase, this has been my experience since the beginning of May when I took on the role of farm finance program coordinator at Angelic Organics Learning Center. What a fantastic, dedicated group of people. The enthusiasm is contagious, and the proximity of my office to the vegetable fields has given me an unexpected, yet welcomed round-the-clock craving for vegetables.

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

    Monday, April 21st CRAFT members gathered at Montalbano Farms to get a detailed look into Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. It was a warm, windy day, threatening rain, so—first things first—farm tour! Farmer Christina Goy and Farmer Camelia Minasian guided the group past the barns out back to the hoophouses and 96’x30’ greenhouse. Christina spoke about GAP standards required for greenhouses, hoophouses, and also the fields. She also answered questions and told us about their farm’s newly acquired land; mending soils that were previously farmed conventionally and reverting them back into organic....

The weather vane on top of the cupola of the timber frame barn here at the Learning Center does not sport the common farm animals, like roosters or pigs. This particular weathervane is adorned with dolphins.

By Shelbie Blank, Farmer Training Program Assistant

February 28th CRAFT members gathered at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin for the annual CRAFT Open Meeting! Learn more about the meeting details, the first CRAFT Field Day of the year "Rightsizing Your Farm" panel discussion and a QuickBooks Recordkeeping workshop which also took place at the meeting.

Would you like to support sustainable agriculture by investing in farmland managed by Angelic Organics?

Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), along with 12 other CRAFT farmer alliances from across North America, met at Hawthorne Valley Farm Jan 2-4 in Ghent, New York, for an inaugural in-person meeting of CRAFT farmers and coordinators. This special meeting happened in conjunction with, and was hosted by, the Farm Beginnings Collaborative, a network of 9 US nonprofits--including Angelic Organics Learning Center--that offers the Farm Beginnings strategic farm business planning program to their farmer networks.

On November 26th residents of Blackhawk Courts gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving—farm style. This multi-generational family event brought over thirty people together to create & cook an assortment of pies. Prior to the event, pie-making participants decided about what type of pies they would like to make with fruit, nuts or vegetables.  In response to popular demand, pecan and banana cream pies were added to the menu. Other taste sensations included sweet potato and apple fillings, both of which were grown or gathered locally by the farm crew at Blackhawk Courts. The theme of the night was “let’s bake and eat...

Imagine this scenario: as you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with your family, you begin to realize that each dish has a story.* Perhaps it’s a story about the farmer who grew your mashed potatoes or the friend who gave you his cranberry sauce recipe.

Now imagine: your kids made half the dishes on your Thanksgiving table - so they’re the ones leading the storytelling. They’re sharing tips for proofing yeast and laughing about how they almost spilled the filling as they put the pumpkin pie...

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