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Farmer Training

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...

Bill Mitchell in the garlic fields

With a busy season coming to a close, Angelic Organics Learning Center's Farmer Training team has been pouring over evaluations and surveys from the past several months. In reviewing our fall CRAFT survey, we noticed the success of many Stateline Farm Beginnings® graduates and asked several to share their stories. Here is what Bill and Angie Mitchell of 3 Flat Acres had to say.

Angelic Organics Learning Center (AO): How did you get into farming as a career?

3 Flat Acres (3FA): First we must note that farming is not our only career.  Angie maintains a...

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...

Sampling a Hmong farmer's cucumbers at Fondy Farm Project

After sharing a meal and warm greetings, the 31 farmers and farmer enthusiasts that convened at Fondy Farm Project circled up and settled in for a conversation on cooperative agriculture models. Led by Stephen Petro of Fondy Farm Project and Jay Salinas of the Wormfarm, both men gave a summary of their experiences working at incubators and facilitating the sharing of information and resources among farmers. Before diving into the nuances of these models, “farm incubators” were defined by the presenters as a place for beginning farmers to get started and from which they eventually graduate and move...

Presenter Kathy Ruhf from Land for Good

On the afternoon of Monday, July 30th, a dozen farmers and community members convened at the AOLC farm office to participate in a land tenure workshop and dialogue lead by Kathy Ruhf, Co-Director of Land for Good, a New England-based not-for-profit that works with landowners, land managers and entering farmers to keep “working lands working.”

The group was small enough to allow for ample discussion and feedback on participants’ personal land use situations. Beginning farmers were in attendance, seeking short- and mid-term alternatives to the cost of land purchase. Established farmers asked questions about farm expansion, farm relocation...

Danny Frohman, Wash/Pack Coordinator at Tempel Farms Organics

It's not every day that you hear, "When I grow up, I want to be a farmer..." but the staff at Angelic Organics Learning Center hears this sentiment often. Some individuals find fulfillment in growing food for themselves in their gardens in an effort to be more self-sustaining, or simply for the satisfaction of undeniably fresh produce. Others are looking for a safe and healthy place to raise a family and are drawn to opportunities for learning through interactions with animals and the natural world. Chicago resident Danny Frohman needed a change of pace...

Cedar Valley's chicken pens

Old and new friends alike gathered at Beth and Jody Osmunds’ farm, Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm, outside of Ottawa, IL in late-June for a hearty potluck and a tour of their 80-acre farm. One of the first meat CSAs serving the Chicago area, Beth and Jody have been refining their operation since they first started serving the market for sustainably raised meat products in 2002

Joel Kellum identifying trees in the edible food forest.

On Saturday May 19th the first CRAFT Field Day of the season took place at King’s Hill Farm. Hosts Joel and Jai Kellum gave a thorough introduction to permaculture activities taking place on their farm to a large group of CRAFT interns, Stateline Farm Beginnings students and other CRAFT member farms: Freedom Organix, Radical Root Farm and Tempel Farms Organics

King’s Hill Farm, located outside of Mineral Point, WI, is situated on 830 acres of rolling hills and fertile fields. With 10 years of experience in organic produce farming, the Kellums have rejuvenated the land and had 4...

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation recently featured a blog story about the Learning Center's farmer training program, and program graduate Bob Vierow, of Bob's Fresh & Local.

Mr. Vierow is one of more than 100 farmers who have graduated from our Stateline Farm Beginnings ® farmer training course since it began in 2005. Beginning farmers learn from established farmers throughout the region, and 76 percent of graduates report they are currently farming.

We are grateful for the ongoing support and partnership of the Donnelley Foundation. The Foundation has provided essential funding for our farmer...

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