December 27,  2016
In this Weekly Harvest:     
toppp  Will you help us secure a future for sustainable farmers?

We need more farmers to grow food with our health, and the health of our environment in mind. In order to do that, new farmers need access to land, training, capital, mentors, and markets.

The Land Connection offers programs that help farmers write business plans, learn new production techniques, farm more sustainably, find mentors, and access new markets:
  • Central Illinois Farm Beginnings
  • The Land Connection Champaign Farmers' Market
  • SNAP doubling and increased access to fresh, healthy food
  • Beginning and advanced farmer training workshops
  • Organic grain transition workshops
  • The incubator at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
  • The Weekly Harvest newsletter and online classified ads
Will you join us in building a stronger local food system by ensuring that we will continue to offer programs that help farmers succeed?

impact Community Impact

Shea Belahi completed Central Illinois Farm Beginnings in 2012 and has been a reliable player on the C-U local food scene ever since. With her own Heirloominous Farm, she was one of the core founding vendors at the Champaign Farmers' Market, where she not only sold delicious veggies, but also offered knife-sharpening services at her booth, bringing even more value to the market.

In 2015, Shea took on a management role at Blue Moon Farm in Urbana, and we're so happy to see her thriving at the helm of one of the area's largest and most popular organic farms. 
F ind out how you can help us fund important programs like CIFB and the Champaign Farmers Market   here .

What We're Reading

 A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm
 By: Terra Brockman

As the readership of The Weekly Harvest increases, and we become connected to more of our community through a shared passion and dedication to strengthening the local food movement, it occurred to me that some of our newer readers might not be aware of the book, The Seasons on Henry's Farm , written by Terra Brockman , founder of The Land Connection.

The weather this week reminded me of a passage in the book about mulching garlic:

"Together, the icy layer and the mulch will mitigate the up-and-down bounces in temperatures that characterize a central Illinois winter, where a week of below-zero weather can be followed by a week in the fifties..."

Sound familiar? The book takes you through a very real, year long journey on Henry's Farm, a sustainable farm in the Mackinaw River Valley--an important story for people thinking about a career in farming, and an eye opening story for anyone who is interested in where their locally grown, organic food comes from.

- Cara

WorkshopsWorkshops, Field Days, and Grant Opportunities

Marketing Strategies for Specialty Crops and Diversified Farms
January 26, 2017
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign
This workshop brings together industry experts and skilled farmers who will share their strategies, tips, and insight into marketing your farm products. Learn how to write a marketing plan, optimize social media reach, and brand your business, with industry experts. Successful farmers will present their experience on running a CSA, selling to chefs, running a farm store, and selling to groceries and other large buyers.  More information available here .
Farm Scale Seed Starting Workshop
February 9, 2017
Parkland Community College Greenhouse
Seed starting on the farm is one of the most rewarding activities of the year. Starting new life, providing all of its needs, nurturing it into a vigorous transplant. It is an art. Come and learn the craft of starting your own seeds at scales large and small. More information available here.

Farm Services Agency Workshop
February 11, 2017
Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
Officials from the Illinois state FSA office will be presenting a three-hour workshop, walking attendees through programs designed to assist farmers with access to operating credit, real estate financing, conservation support programs, and disaster relief. Attendees will learn about eligibility and preferential funding groups such as beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. The workshop will conclude with a panel of farmers describing their experiences with the loan application process and how access to FSA funding has improved their businesses.  Attendees of this workshop will be the first to receive The Land Connection's new printed guide to FSA programs for specialty and non-commodity crop farmers.  Learn more and register here.

February 16, 2017
Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign, IL
The culmination of our series of workshops designed to help you manage risk in organic grain production, marketing, and financing, we are delighted to welcome Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute as our keynote speaker. This program  will bring in regional experts and stakeholders to discuss the current state of organic grain farming, what the upcoming opportunities are, and how both new and season organic growers can work together to everyone's benefit.  Registration is $25, which includes lunch and morning refreshments. 

CSA Fair
March 3, 2017
Urbana Civic Center, Urbana, IL
Join Urbana's Market at the Square and The Land Connection for the Third Annual Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Fair on Friday, March 3rd.  customers will have the opportunity to meet local farmers and businesses that offer CSA programs and buying clubs, learn about their farms or businesses, and select a share or club that best meets their needs! There will also be educational information about local food, free samples and recipes, free activities for children, music, and more.  Learn more here.

Beginning Farmer of the Year Nominations
Due January 4, 2017
The Land Connection and the farmer alliances of the greater Chicago foodshed are accepting nominations for the 2017 Beginning Farmer of the Year award. The winner will be announced at the Good Food Festival in Chicago and will receive  a $1,000 honorarium, recognition at the public ceremony, a free pass to the Industry Day at the Good Food Festival (Friday), and partial travel support to the event. To nominate yourself or another farmer, create a 3-minute max. video highlighting the farmers' achievements. More information and submission instructions available here.


The FruitGuys Community Fund 2017 Grant Cycle
LOIs due Monday, January 9, 2017
The FruitGuys Community Fund provides small grants (up to $5,000) to small farms and agricultural nonprofits for sustainability projects that have large positive impacts on the environment, local food systems, and farm diversity. Grants in amounts ranging from $2,000-$5,000 will be awarded in Spring 2017. Projects to be considered should help farms and/or orchards operate more sustainably, both environmentally and economically, as well as strengthen community outreach. Learn more about the funding opportunity here.
Center for Rural Affairs Conservation Stewardship Program
Initial applications due February 3, 2017
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a major farmer and rancher funding opportunity that rewards farmers for protecting and enhancing natural resources on their working lands. The program is designed to encourage and reward resource-conserving practices such as planting cover crops, rotational grazing, or ecologically-based pest management. CSP also doesn't forget smaller producers: for folks who qualify for the program, the minimum contract payment is $1,500, no matter the acreage.  Learn more about this funding opportunity here.

Organic Transitions Program
Applications due March 9, 2017
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is offering up to $3.8M in funding to support research, education and extension for both new and existing organic farmers and ranchers. The effort is aimed at helping more farmers gain access to the growing market for organic products in the United States. Learn more about this funding opportunity here.


Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference
January 11-13, 2017
Crowne Plaza Hotel and Convention Center
Springfield, IL
The Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference (ISCAOC) will be held January 11-13, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. The conference, which features nearly 100 speakers and 60 trade show exhibitors, will again host four concurrent preconference workshops, general sessions and breakout sessions aimed at helping Illinois specialty growers cultivate their operations.

To receive registration materials or to obtain exhibitor information, please contact Charlene Blary at 309-557-2107 or A detailed conference agenda, online registration, and cider contest information can be found here.

2017 Organic Grain Production and Marketing Seminar
January 21-22, 2017
Madison, WI
Registration is now open for the 2017 OGRAIN Organic Grain Production and Marketing Seminar. The seminar offers t wo days of expert presentations, engaging panels,  productive discussions, and plenty of time to meet other farmers  interested in organic grain production in the Upper Midwest. The event is available to anyone with an interest in learning more about organic grain production. However, the seminar emphasizes the needs of beginning farmers who have been farming for fewer than 10 years. More information and registration available here.

2017 Market Manager Certification Course
February 10-March 7, 2017
Mount Vernon, IL
Indianapolis, IN
The Market Manager Certificate Program is a voluntary program designed to encourage farmers market managers to pursue leadership skills and professional development in topics essential to market management. Market managers will be recognized with a certificate upon completion of the full program. This certificate offers acknowledgment to market organizers and vendors that the market manager is a trained professional. The course incorporates 3 day-long sessions, in both Mount Vernon, IL and Indianapolis, IN on February 10-11 and March 7, as well as 7 webinars. Learn more here.

2017 Good Food Festival & Conference
March 16-18, 2017
UIC Forum, Chicago
The Good Food Festival & Conference is the Midwest's premier showcase for local and sustainable food. Celebrate our region's growing local food community! The 13th Annual Good Food Festival & Conference will connect farmers, food producers, investors, trade buyers, policy makers, activists, families and Good Food lovers over three dynamic days.  Learn more here.
Bloog Farming Foibles: Winter is Here!

So, you've decided you want a masonry heater?  I can't say I blame you, because we LOVE ours. The masonry heater is far superior to any kind of fireplace I've ever been near in my life -- and I've been near a lot of different types as I tend to cozy up to any available fireplace in the winter.  I've put together this handy FAQ for you to answer some of your burning (ha ha ha) questions. 

agnews Agriculture in the News:
Something you should know
The USDA has updated SNAP stock requirements for retailersRead more here.
Something you should do
Nominate a beginning farmer to be recognized at the 2017 Good Food Festival. Learn more here.

Something to be happy about
The USDA is offering reimbursements to help cover the cost of for organic or transitional certification. Read more here.

You can post your ad or search for more listings in the  classifieds section  o f our website. To have something listed in the Weekly Harvest, email us at or call 217-840-2128.

Employment Opportunities:
EarthDance Organic Farm School runs a variety of programs to educate all ages about organic farming, gardening, permaculture and sustainability. EarthDance is seeking a self-motivated, creative and resourceful individual with experience in marketing, excellent organizational skills, and a commitment to EarthDance's mission to serve as our Marketing Coordinator. The Marketing Coordinator will work closely with other EarthDance staff to promote EarthDance to diverse constituents, including program participants, funders, and the media. For more info & a full position description, visit

We are seeking Floral Designers to help arrange flowers we grow and utilize for weddings and Crew Members to assist with farm duties for Summer 2017. For more information or to apply, contact and send a resume to

We are hiring for farm hands. This is part-time work starting in May or June running into December. You would be doing all kinds of manual labor: harvesting, weeding, washing, occasional transplanting and general cleanup. The benefits are hard to beat: lots of produce, exercise, and interesting people to talk to. No experience needed. For an application, visit our website and send to:

Land, Equipment, and Other:

1980 IH Hydro 84 with IH2250 6' loader row crop model with 4cyl German Diesel Engine. Great farm tractor we have used for the last 5 years transplanting vegetable crops and have upgraded our transplanter and no longer need a hydro tractor. Rebuilt starter and alternator put in last year, new front tires in the last 2 years. Has block heater, 3 point cat i or ii, rear hydraulic outlet, and power steering. Hydro is strong, kept inside. $8500/OBO. For more information email Hans at

We hope to see someone purchase our family farm for organic farming practices. 40 acres- 20 acres planted soybeans 2016 + 20 acres fenced pastures/timber w/creek, pond. Modular home, pole barn, municipal water supply plus 2 other wells,300 amp electric, new septic system.  Past operations on property:  horses,  aquaculture (pond & creek), poultry, hogs, sheep, dairy, beef, honey, nuts, fruit trees, berries, mushrooms, herbs (woodland and planted), gardens (floral and vegetable), lots of wildlife habitat and mature timber.  Learn more here.

Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, and supporters that make the daily operations and programs of The Land Connection possible. We couldn't do it without you!


 And thanks to all of our 2016 Market Sponsors!

 Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church