the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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farm aid turns 30 and throws a rocking party, sept. 19, chicago

Farm Aid 30  will be at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island on Saturday, September 19! Tickets on sale August 3 with (limited) discounted tickets available to farmers. There are plenty of ways for farmers, advocacy groups, and social media faries to get involved. More details: here!

If you aren’t familiar with Farm Aid yet, it’s a long-standing advocate of American farmers. Started with a benefit concert to help save family farms organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young in 1985, for the last 30 years the organization has been instrumental (har-har) in bringing attention to the marked decline of family farms, raising support for organic farming, and fighting for the survival of small and mid-range farmers.

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chicago urban farmers

making it happen!  Check out their kickstarter campaign


Chicago ‘Cooperation Operation’ to Transform South Side Lot into Creative Farm-scape
by Whitney Richardson

The Cooperation Operation (Coop Op) is a diverse group of young social & food justice activists working to create a cooperatively run urban community garden in Chicago’s South Side Pullman neighborhood. A quarter of the homes in Pullman lay vacant. The abandonment is a result of riots in the 1960s and the spoils of an industrialized neighborhood. Additional indicators of neglect include disparate access to food, high rates of substance abuse and obesity and racial divide. The Coop Op, like many young farmers across America, woke up with the hope of urban agriculture, igniting change in pursuit of a better present and future, to restore the land and make peace. Continue reading

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local food + land trusts

land“Local Food a Growing Trend for Land Trusts”
By Erik Hoffner / February 2013
Grist guest contributor 

When a land trust in Grayslake, Illinois, made a strategic decision in 2005 to include farmland in its list of property types to preserve, it joined scores of traditional ‘woods and waters’ trusts across the U.S. which are increasingly preserving agricultural lands and building local food systems.While it made sense strategically, since much of the county’s remaining forested and open land has already been conserved, it was also right on mission for Conserve Lake County (CLC). As they got into it, the CLC leadership realized that they didn’t want to convert purchased farms to natural uses, though, but rather to keep them in farming. Continue reading

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mid-america homesteading conference

Featuring speakers from around the Midwest, the Mid-America Homesteading Conference will be held September 1 at Joliet Junior College. Participants will have a choice of three topics in each of the six, hour-long sessions presented throughout the day, including those appropriate for people who live in the city, suburbs, or country.

“There has been a huge increase in people’s desire to become more self-reliant in the past few years,” said conference organizer Deborah Niemann, author of Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living. “And you don’t have to live in the country to become self sufficient. I know people in Chicago, the suburbs, and small towns who are keeping chickens, beekeeping, composting, gardening, canning, and even keeping small goats to produce their own dairy products.” Continue reading

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vegetable farmer position in Illinois

Sola Gratia Farm, LLC is hiring.
Position: Vegetable Farmer
Location: Urbana, Illinois
Start date: January, 2012
Duration: Full Time
Salary: $32,000 (benefits negotiable)

We seek a farmer to manage a 3 acre Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.

Responsibilities will include:
• develop a yearly fruit/vegetable growing plan
• plant, weed, water, and harvest produce Continue reading