Extension Educator, Community Development
Brenda E. Derrick
Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
May 27, 2010
The year-long Central Illinois Farm Beginnings education program has added another component to further cultivate relationships between farmers who are interested in sustainability and to provide opportunities to share information and develop mentorships – The Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network (CISFN).
"We felt there was a need to provide Farm Beginnings graduates with access to hands-on training and the opportunity to learn skills to help them advance from being a farming novice to running their own farm successfully," said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, University of Illinois Extension small farm and sustainable agriculture specialist.
"This network offers field day workshops hosted by member farms and access to a wide variety of resources, from experienced farmers. Network members will be exposed to a wide range of farming practices and join a supportive network of farmers and farmers-in-training," Cavanaugh-Grant said.
The network is facilitated by The Land Connection and U of I Extension with direction provided by an advisory group of central Illinois farmers.
"CISFN provides continuing education for anyone interested in sustainable farming," Cathe Capel of The Land Connection said. According to Capel, people can join as individual members or as a farm at an annual membership of just $30. "Attending one event virtually pays for the membership," she said.
All network members receive free admission to all 2010 CISFN events, including field days. Other benefits include a directory listing all farm and individual members, monthly newsletters and event reminders, job opportunities, and alerts relevant to those who support expanding sustainable food systems in Illinois.
Those with farm member status as individuals, families, or businesses with a farm name that are currently marketing at least one farm product to the public, will also receive free admission to all 2010 network events for interns and employees working on the farm. In addition, a description of the farm operations will be posted on the network's Web site.
For complete information and how to join, visit http://central.illinoisfarmbeginnings.org and click on "Join the Network."
May 24, 2010
May 24, 2010
USDA May 2010
May 19, 2010
Summer Vegetable and Small Fruit Production, a new course in the John Wood Community College Sustainable Local Foods Farming program, will begin Tuesday, June 8. Registrations are currently being accepted through May 28. Students registering June 1 to June 4 will be charged a $75.00 late fee.
The class will be taught by JWCC's David Camphouse, coordinator of Local Food Programs. Camphouse holds a bachelor of science in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Previously, he taught vegetable production and direct marketing practices for the Chicago Botanic Garden and, working with the University of Illinois Extension-Adams/Brown Unit, coordinated the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Community Gardens/Local Foods Summer Experience program held at JWCC last year.
Summer Vegetable and Small Fruit Production (with lab) begins June 8 and is a four credit course. This course will be delivered in a blended hands-on and on line format. Students will meet Tuesdays or Thursdays 8 a.m. on the Quincy Campus for the class through July 30. The course includes the study and practice of summer vegetable and small fruit production, and topics include variety selection, production methods and record-keeping procedures. Emphasis will be placed on sustainable practices for Midwest growers. Upon completion of the class, students should be proficient in the use of appropriate tools and equipment and have a demonstrable knowledge of sustainable crop production methods suitable for the area.
The cost of credit classes for residents of the JWCC District is $107 per credit hour, plus applicable lab fees. To register or for details, contact the JWCC Ag Center at 217.641.4558 or email@example.com.
May 18, 2010
The growing season is upon us and with it comes the wonderful flavors we come to expect this time of year. From strawberries to sweet corn to tomatoes, the season has something for everyone. "Preserving food is a great way to enjoy those same flavors year-round," says Brenda Derrick, University of Illinois Extension, nutrition & wellness educator.
Preserving Local Flavors 101 will be offered to those who are interested in canning, freezing or drying food. Participants will receive information and a list of resources and recipes on how to safely preserve food for home use. Food preservation can be rewarding, but it must be done safely. "Using grandma's old tomato sauce recipe, a recipe from an old cookbook, or even one brought to work from a co-worker are not the safest recipes to use," says Derrick. Whether you are interested in making strawberry jam, freezing sweet corn, or canning tomatoes (just to name a few) this class will have something for everyone.
The cost of the workshop is $5 per person and pre-registration is required. Dates of the workshop are Thursday June 17, 2010 at the U of I Extension office, 330 South 36th Street, Quincy, IL or Tuesday June 22, 2010 at the Mt. Sterling Community Center YMCA, Hwy. 99 South, Mt. Sterling, IL. Both workshops begin at 6:00 pm.
Click here to register online or drop off the registration fee at 330 South 36th Street in Quincy, IL. Registration deadlines are June 16th for the Quincy workshop and June 21st for the Mt. Sterling workshop. Please call 217-223-8380 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
May 13, 2010
For all of the latest info and upcoming programs visit: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/smallfarm/newsletter/
May 13, 2010
The Brown County Farmers Market will officially be open this Saturday (and every Saturday until October) from 8:00am-noon at the KC Hall in Mt. Sterling. Come check out the produce, baked goods, crafts and much more.
May 10, 2010
A food movement has started across the country...Illinois cannot be left behind.
Illinois Farm to School needs you to take part in an online survey that serves as a vital first step towards serving more locally-grown food to Illinois school children. You have received this invitation to participate in the survey because you are someone who can provide valuable insight and opinions about what we feed our children.
Survey participants will be entered into a raffle to win one of 5 Visa gift cards, each valued at $100*.
To begin the survey, simply click here: www.farmtoschool.org/IL/survey.htm
Spread the word...forward this e-mail to everyone you know in Illinois, especially parents, teachers, farmers, school administrators and food service directors!
A message from Governor Pat Quinn about the survey: www.farmtoschool.org/IL/governorletter.htm
May 10, 2010
URBANA – The Illinois State Horticultural Society's 2010 Horticultural Field Day will take place on June 10 at Broom Orchard in Carlinville.
Third-generation fruit growers Jeff and Lisa Broom are hosting this year's event at Broom Orchard. Their orchard consists of 50 acres of apples with 22 varieties, 20 acres of peaches with eight varieties, six acres of pumpkins, and one acre of strawberries. Nectarines, plums and pears are also produced. They recently added 700 new apple and peach trees, making the range of age from 1- to 30-year-old trees. For more information on Broom Orchard, go to www.broomorchard.com.
Speakers for the field tours include Jeff Broom of Broom Orchard; Mohammad Babadoost, Rick Weinzierl, Mosbah Kushad and Elizabeth Wahle of the University of Illinois; and Alan Walters and Bradley Taylor of Southern Illinois University. Field tour will include visiting production sites of apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries and pumpkins.
Registration will begin at 8 a.m., followed by an 8:30 welcome and tours from 8:45 to noon. Lunch will be served at noon with presentations by Don Naylor, executive secretary of the Illinois State Horticultural Society (ISHS) and Craig Tanner, ISHS president. In addition, speakers will discuss Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
The 2010 Horticultural Field Day is sponsored by ISHS, U of I, SIU and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.
To register, call Don Naylor, executive secretary, at 309-828-8929 or email email@example.com. Advance registrations may be mailed along with a $25 fee per person (children are free) to ISHS, 15962 Old Orchard Road, Bloomington, IL 61705. Advance reservation is due June 8. Registration at the door is $30.
May 6, 2010
URBANA – Students at Southern Illinois University are eating ultra-fresh produce due to a relationship between SIU housing and two local farms, which are the destination of the next sustainable agriculture tour sponsored by University of Illinois Extension. The tour will take place on Friday, June 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., beginning at Mulberry Hill Farm in Carbondale. Later, the tour will caravan to Farmer Brown's Production Company in Pomona.
Tom Grant has owned Mulberry Hill Farm since 2000 when he began converting the conventional corn and soybean farm to organic produce production. "I wanted to make soil amendments without erosion, so I experimented with terracing garden beds and using grass clippings as green manure," Grant said. "Early on, I also decided to try to improve the soil as much as possible, figuring that healthier soil would result in healthier plants. I cook down the compost, incorporating wood chips and even oyster shells for a slow-release calcium to the soil."
Mulberry Hill recently became a vendor for Southern Illinois University Housing. "There's a good group of chefs there who are interested in promoting locally grown, fresh foods," Grant said.
"We talk on a fairly regular basis. Communication is important. One day they ordered 200 pounds of spinach. We started picking it in the morning and had it on their delivery dock by 4 in the afternoon, and a good portion of it was served that night for dinner. That's fresh."
Grant also ships produce to Irv and Shelley's Fresh Picks in Niles. "We have it up on their dock the day after it's picked, so their customers have it less than 48 hours from picking and it hasn't traveled across the country."
Jerry Bradley, communications director and co-founder of Food Works, will provide information about his organization's work in helping to develop local, sustainable food systems in southern Illinois.
"I've been working along with Dayna Conner for two years with small-scale to mid-size fruit and vegetable growers in the region, farmers' market managers, and community stakeholders," Bradley said. "We are planning on starting a comprehensive, year-long new and beginning farmer-training program for growers in the region. It is modeled on the very successful Central Illinois Farm Beginnings program. We hope to give growers the business and marketing skills necessary to become successful growers over the long term. Part of the course also includes hands-on field days and one-on-one mentorships with established growers in southern Illinois."
Mid-morning, the tour will travel to Farmer Brown's Production Company in Pomona. Owner Josh Brown will describe the process and strategy behind becoming USDA Certified Organic, discuss the best practices and maximum yields using raised beds, share some of his marketing strategies and an overview of his crop plan.
Farmer Brown's Production Company also supplies fresh produce to Southern Illinois University housing. "Chef Bill Connors from SIU contacted our local co-op about the potential for some of their small-scale farmers providing food for the students," said Brown. "We do some volume as far as small farmers go, so we were a likely candidate to getting that relationship under way. Things worked out well last year, and we have started selling to them again this year."
Brown said his farm specializes in leafy greens, lettuce, kale, and spinach, culinary garlic, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and herbs. "We have a strong emphasis on soil building through cover crops, crop rotations, and nutrient management," he said.
For more information, visit http://farmerbrownsproductioncompany.com .
Bill Connors, chef at Southern Illinois University Housing residence hall dining facilities will prepare the tour lunch made from locally grown produce as well as pasture-fed and finished beef raised by Joshua Buchheit at Lick Creek Beef. Buchheit will speak briefly during the lunch about how he raises, grazes and processes his cattle. And Chef Connors will talk about how he has made serving local food to his students a top priority.
The schedule for the remaining 2010 sustainable agriculture tours is as follows:
July 27, Illinois Berries
J & J Berry Farm, Jersey County
August 13, Romance Tour – Flowers and Wine
Bright Flower Nursery and Famous Fossil Vineyard & Winery
Jo Daviess County and Stephenson County
September 15, Agritourism – Farm Fresh Fun
Country Corner, Henry County
A fee of $20 per person will be charged for each tour, which includes lunch. Two adults pay $30 when registered together, and children under the age of 10 attend free.
Registration at least one week in advance is required.
to register and for more details about each of the tours, including a map and agenda. To register by phone, contact Donna Cray at 217-241-4644. For more information, contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant (217-968-5512; firstname.lastname@example.org).
May 5, 2010
The 2010 Local Food Guides were mailed out yesterday. If you would like to pick one up they are available at the Adams and Brown County Extension offices and the Historic Quincy Business District office.
May 4, 2010
Read the article below to find out more about Illinois' first county local food policy council.
May 3, 2010
May 3, 2010
Visit this site to read or listen to the local foods story that ran on NPR today.