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Farmer Training

Applications are available today! Please review details of the program online and take the eligibility quiz to see if you qualify for the program. Applications are due by November 30th, 2013 and can be found here.

Trogg's Hollow, Chris Prchal, Stateline Farm Beginnings, CRAFT

Trogg's Hollow, Chris Prchal, Stateline Farm Beginnings, CRAFTWhen Chris and Marcy Prchal started a family, they decided to go into farming. They weren’t aiming to strike it rich; they simply wanted to provide for their family of six, give their children a meaningful upbringing, and support the community with sustainably grown, real food.

Farmer John from Angelic Organics Farm discusses his methods to weed prevention.

By Jenny Meyer, Program Director of Farmer Training Initiative

Program Director of Farmer Training Initiative
Program Director of Farmer Training Initiative

On Tuesday, August 6th the Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Farmer Alliance for Farmer Training) fulfilled an objective conceived by C.R.A.F.T.’s steering committee last November: offer an extended field day that caters specifically to earnest, established beginning farmers so that the length and detail of the day’s activities draw a high farmer turnout from a broad portion of CRAFT's geographic area.

By featuring trainings from...

A year in retrospect: Rebecca Haldeman, the Farmer Training Program Assistant and organizer of the CRAFT alliance, wrote this post in response to finding her place within Angelic Organics Learning Center and CRAFT. She will soon be leaving the Learning Center and embarking on a journey in pursuit of her music career. You can watch her grow and "like" her progress on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rebshaldeman

May 25, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing the produce section at Willy Street Co-op in Madison, Wisconsin. I always scan the shelves for the purple "locally...

Cilantro interplanted with carrots in an unheated hoophouse.

On a blustery April 25th, twenty-six CRAFT members started the day at Hazzard Free Farm to learn about season extension. Hazzard Free Farm, started in 2007, is situated on a 240-acre plot in northern Illinois and consists of 10 acres in organic vegetable/herb production and 20 acres in organic grains. Farm enterprises include CSA, short-chain wholesale, and direct sales to other farmers. Owner/operator Andy Hazzard is also starting a farm incubator for farmers-in-training.

During the Field Day we focused on Hazzard Free Farm's multi-year effort to extend the growing season through hoophouse and greenhouse use. We toured three...

Choosing a CSA farm is somewhat like dating – there are as many personalities of farms as there are personalities of people.  Part of the beauty of CSAs  (short for Community Supported Agriculture) is that they offer more than just food – they offer a relationship, a chance to connect with your food and be part of the farm community.  Yet, CSA-shareholder pairings don’t always work out.  It is important to find one that clicks with your personality and needs.

Fortunately, The Local Beet has done all the footwork for you.  Their new 2013 CSA guide offers a...

Alex and Alison of Radical Root Farm with mentor farmer Peg Sheaffer

Are farms strengthened by competition or cooperation? Upper Midwest CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) launched in 1997 with a spirit of support, shared resources and networking among the handful of founding farms, but is this cooperative context valid today, with nearly 100 small-scale, diversified farms serving each of our regional metropolitan markets?

If you attended the Good Food Fest on March 15th, you would have been touched by the goodwill and promise that was demonstrated in the working relationship between mentor farmers Matt and Peg Sheaffer of Sandhill Family Farms and beginning...

Cassie and Mike Noltnerwyss of Crossroads Community Farm

The 2013 Upper Midwest CRAFT Field Day Schedule got off to an early start this year, with our first on-farm event at Crossroads Community Farm in Cross Plains, Wisconsin. Owner and farmer Mike Noltnerwyss hosted 12 CRAFT members on January 29th for an informative and valuable afternoon of conversing about organic vegetable production.

John Hendrickson of Stone Circle Farm moderated the discussions, which focused on seven crops: onions, sweet peppers, cucumbers, melons, broccoli, tomatoes and ginger. For each crop the farmers chimed in about the experiences they’ve had and obstacles they’ve faced in regards to seed varieties,...

Altfrid Krusenbaum of Krusengrass Farm

In 2013, Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC) and the Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance will recognize four beginning farmers and one farmer mentor who have been outstanding leaders, innovators or community-builders in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region.  

Farmers are invited to nominate their farm by creating and submitting a video by February 25, 2013. Five cash prizes will be awarded during a public ceremony to be held on Friday, March 15 at the Good Food Festival in Chicago.   

A $1,000 honorarium will go to the "Beginning Farmer of the Year" spotlighted for recognition by...

Altfrid Krusenbaum introducing his dairy herd

The fount of knowledge that flowed from Altfrid Krusenbaum’s lips in two and a half hours was staggering. Delivered with a casual, down-to-earth and generous demeanor, the CRAFT farmers in attendance soaked up Altfrid’s counsel on a brisk day in early October at Krusen Grass Farms in Elkhorn, Wisconsin

The CRAFT Field Day opened with Altfrid backgrounding us in the operations of a seasonal pasture-based dairy farm—a rarity in his field, as most dairy farmers choose the constant cash flow that accompanies year-round calving. However, at Krusen Grass the clear beginning and ending of tasks that seasonality brings...

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