Seminar on Transitioning to Organic Grains

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Posted: December 24, 2015 at 10:21 am

The Land Connection will be presenting Transitioning to Organic Grains:  A Seminar on Organic Field Crop Production & Marketing. This seminar will be held at Dorr Township Hall in Woodstock, Illinois on January 13, 2016 from 8am – 4pm.

 

Photo: agrodaily.com

Photo: agrodaily.com

 

Farmers who have transitioned to organic and non-GMO crops will share their experience at this all-day seminar. The selection of ideal alternative grain crop choices for your farm and markets, planning for soil fertility and pest management with fewer synthetic inputs, navigating through organic transition and certification, and finding out how to get the best price for your premium product will be discussed by a panel of experts. Farm service providers, farm managers, and farmland owners will also benefit.

 

The price for attending is $40 for individuals, $20 for additional family or crew members. 

For more information

Capture2

 




What’s In Season Can Be Found at Green City Market Plus Other Places Too

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Posted: December 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Eat Local Holiday

 

beets

Get all the fixin’s for your eat local holiday at Green City Market all these stores  or the other places listed below.  In addition look to Jeannie’s Local Calendar for all there to know to lead the locavore life.  Finally, always check up on our big list of winter markets.

What’s In Season Now

Note, this time of year, our idea of what’s in season is not so much what’s growing, but what we’re still seeing around based on our market goers, local eaters, CSA growers and other sources.

Photo: IFMA

Photo: IFMA

 

From the Hoops and other Indoor Means

      • Lettuces
      • Spinach
      • Kale, chard and other greens
      • Tomatoes–yes, more to come on this!
      • Herbs

From the Ground (Storage Crops)

      • Winter squash and pumpkins
      • Beets
      • Carrots
      • Cabbage
      • Rutabaga
      • Celery root
      • Sweet potatoes
      • Onions
      • Leeks
      • Potatoes
      • Radishes, including varieties like daikon and black–these are great storage items
      • Parsnips
      • The roots you did not think about before — parsley, burdock, sunchoke, salsify, etc.

From the Trees and Bushes

      • Apples
      • Asian pears a/k/a papples

Year Round

      • Meats, poultry, lake fish
      • Eggs
      • Milk, cheese and other dairy
      • Mushrooms
      • Grains and breads
      • Select herbs
      • Sprouts
      • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

Chicago

Just because you won’t see the Condiment Queen does not mean you should skip the market at the Experimental Station Indoor Farmers Market on Saturday from  9am – 2pm. – 6100 S. Blackstone

Lots of seasonal produce as well as other great stuff to eat Sunday at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, 10 AM to 3 PM - 2755 N Milwaukee Ave,

Green City Market is on Saturday from  8 AM to 1 PM - The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum,  2610 N. Cannon Dr.

Pilsen Community Market featuring local food plus all that artsy things that make Pilsen Pilsen – Sunday starting at 11 AM – At Honky Tonk BBQ – 1800 S. Racine

Evanston

There’s going to be a few options this  winter in Evanston for winter markets.  This week though, the market at the Ecology Center – Saturday – 9AM – 1 PM - Ecology Center at the Ladd Arboretum, 2024 N McCormick Blvd

And there’s a market at the Immanuel Lutheran Church also on Saturday from 9 AM to 1 pm.  As a special treat, Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris from Prairie Grass Cafe will serve breakfast and lunch at the market cafe. - 616 Lake St

Grayslake

More than a few area farmers call Grayslake their home, so it’s no surprise that this market holds strong until December 19.  Saturdays – 10 am – 2 pm  - Centennial Plaza at the corner of Whitney and Center Streets

Woodstock

Another stalwart of the winter markets, find plenty of farmers on Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM – Building D, McHenry County Fairgrounds (11900 Country Club Rd)




Seeds Grow at The Plant

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Posted: December 12, 2015 at 10:51 am

 

Emily Rhea is a Roosevelt University senior who is enrolled in Roosevelt’s  Sustainability Studies program. Emily worked as an intern during the Fall 2015 semester at The Plant in Chicago. Emily reflects on her experience working at The Plant in this story, reposted from the Sustainability Studies @ Roosevelt University blog.

I have spent many exciting and interesting days at The Plant this semester. Waking early every Tuesday and Saturday morning was not always easy, but once I won the battle with my sleepy eyes I was always eager to arrive and get to work. There are many wonderful things about days at The Plant, but the sheer unpredictability of the events on any given day and the opportunity presented just by being in the company of dreamers and doers all make for a magical place.

Volunteers sorting through the BiobiN output (photo: E. Rhea)

Volunteers sorting through the BiobiN output (photo: E. Rhea)

As with many non-profits, much of the work that gets done at the Plant is by volunteers. The people who really love the atmosphere stick around and when they become busy they may leave for a while, but they nearly always come back. This makes for a very homey and family dynamic as the people who are there are there because they want to be. This also means that on any given day it is uncertain who will be around, which gave me the opportunity to meet and work with many different individuals. Every person I had the chance to talk to and get to know has his or her own reasons for being drawn to The Plant and particular interests in sustainability.

I got to know people like Alex, who focuses on reusing original materials from the meat-packing days of the facility as well as reconstructing spaces for new tenants. He made a beautiful desk, chest, and shelves out of the wood from the rail system that once carried pork throughout the facility. Susana rides her bike for the sake of her sanity; a lawyer during the week and a temporary tattoo-covered Plant volunteer by weekend. Or Jonathon, who has his own company picking up compost from residents via bicycle. And Bell, who quit the “good” job he had and started his own mushroom farming business, The Fruiting Mushrooms LLC, in the basement of The Plant.

Brian Taylor (left), owner of Whiner Brewing, showing the brewery to a tour group. This space has been changing the most recently and is now producing beer. Notice the reused florescent lights. (Photo: E. Rhea)

Brian Taylor (left), owner of Whiner Brewing, showing the brewery to a tour group. This space has been changing the most recently and is now producing beer. Notice the reused florescent lights. (Photo: E. Rhea)

The general feel at the Plant embodied by founder John Edel, who dreamed up the whole concept of The Plant and through intelligent design and lots of hard work has been able to make the dream a reality. His ambition has attracted others who love to play and experiment and dream up ideas and make them come to happen — never exactly as planned, of course.

Plans are merely general guidelines, as there is no direct framework for progress and lessons must be learned and plans modified as information is gathered from every experiment. There is nothing more inspiring, though, than talking to everyone about their ideas of how they want to modify a room or make new door or create a wall installation; and then have the chance to see the progress as it turns from an intangible concept into a physical reality. While the finished product is a success and worth celebrating, it is possibly most rewarding to see and participate in the process as problems arise and must be solved. All the hiccups are little ribbons of accomplishment garnishing the finished product.

My time at The Plant has been nothing but rewarding. Just having the ability to pick the brains of so many intelligent and friendly people has been a wonderful opportunity. Every time I found interest in a project I was welcomed into the process. I have already learned so much and I have no intention to stop now. Though my internship is over, my heart will never be far from The Plant and like all the others, I will always come back.

Photo: E. Rhea

Photo: E. Rhea




What’s In Season Is Not at Green City Market This Weekend So Where Else Can You Find It

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Posted: December 11, 2015 at 11:37 am

Eat Local Options

 

winter market table

The mission of our friends at Green City Market have never been just  putting out a great market.  They’ve done a lot of things over the years to prop up a local food system for Chicagoland, and one of the key things has been a commitment to year-round operations.  We remember buying food with the lions once upon a time, but for several years now, we’ve been with the butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  The Green City winter markets have been notable for keeping up a supply of things and not being all lamb’s wool and jams.  We think about the great things they do because this is a rare week off for them and their farmers.    They’ll be back next week and again in January.

Don’t fret you locavore.  Whether bar, cafe or ecology center, there are several options for local food.  See below or get in your car and visit these markets downstate.   For additional reference use our very big list of Chicagoland Winter Farmer’s Markets.  Don’t forget the Sugar Beet Coop and all these other stores for local food.  Don’t ignore you neighborhood grocery store; we’ve seen lotsa Michigan apples for sale and great prices on Wisconsin russet potatoes.  Finally, always check up on Jeannie’s Local Calendar for things to do. 

What’s In Season Now

 

 

From the Hoops and other Indoor Means

      • Lettuces
      • Spinach
      • Kale, chard and other greens
      • Tomatoes–yes, more to come on this!
      • Herbs

From the Ground (Storage Crops)

      • Brussel sprouts
      • Winter squash and pumpkins
      • Beets
      • Carrots
      • Cabbage
      • Rutabaga
      • Celery root
      • Sweet potatoes
      • Onions
      • Leeks
      • Potatoes
      • Radishes, including varieties like daikon and black–these are great storage items
      • Kohlrabi – another item that stores to near infinity
      • Parsnips
      • The roots you did not think about before — parsley, burdock, sunchoke, salsify, etc.

From the Trees and Bushes

      • Black walnuts
      • Grapes
      • Apples
      • Asian pears a/k/a papples

Year Round

      • Meats, poultry, lake fish
      • Eggs
      • Milk, cheese and other dairy
      • Mushrooms
      • Grains and breads
      • Select herbs
      • Sprouts
      • Preserved and jarred products

Where to Find Local Food

Chicago

Probably your last chance to find the Condiment Queen.  She’ll probably have carrots and shallots. Much other good stuff  at the Experimental Station Indoor Farmers Market on Saturday from  9am – 2pm. – 6100 S. Blackstone

And if you did not get your fill of the Cook Book Addict on Saturday, she’ll be hawking the Tomato Mountain jars and produce Sunday at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, 10 AM to 3 PM - 2755 N Milwaukee Ave,

The folks at the Glenwood Market at back this Sunday – 9AM – 2PM – The Glenwood Bar - 6962 N Glenwood Avenue

Oak Park

Eat local meat!  Our friends the Wettstein’s will have chicken, eggs, a bit of turkey and a few other things Saturday at the Buzz Cafe from 12 PM – 3 PM – 905 S. Lombard

Evanston

There’s going to be a few options this  winter in Evanston for winter markets.  This week though, it’s just the market at the Ecology Center – Saturday – 9AM – 1 PM - Ecology Center at the Ladd Arboretum, 2024 N McCormick Blvd, 

Grayslake

More than a few area farmers call Grayslake their home, so it’s no surprise that this market holds strong until December 19.  Saturdays – 10 am – 2 pm  - Centennial Plaza at the corner of Whitney and Center Streets

Woodstock

Another stalwart of the winter markets, find plenty of farmers on Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM – Building D, McHenry County Fairgrounds (11900 Country Club Rd)




Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: December 9, 2015 at 5:52 pm

 

Give the gift of local cheese.

Nothing beats a live flame no matter how local the bird.

Local boy makes good on national list.

Someone’s idea of the best food and farm books of 2015.

Keep abreast of the New Food Economy.

There’s money in your garbage, I’m tellin’ ya.

Don’t stop eating local tomatoes.

Who cares if we don’t have the world’s tallest building anymore.  We have the world’s largest rooftop farm,




Look What’s On the Menu This Monday

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Posted: December 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Eat Local Later Thanks to Our Four Season Tomato Mountain CSA

 

I thought it made sense to drain the frozen peppers that came in the Tomato Mountain* CSA box last week. Then my wife was saying how she was telling her customers to use the melting juice.  Man did I feel like an idiot putting these on a strainer. On the other hand, I’m smart enough to be part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) that provides me with frozen, fire roasted peppers in Ecember. Even without juice, they made a nearly exact replica of summer’s finest marinated peppers. I’ve froze pepper strips before. Thawed, they’re flaccid, only good for dishes where you would cook the peppers anyways like a frittata or pasta sauce. Now, fire roast them and then freeze them, well now we’re talking. Chris, the Chief Farmer at Tomato Mountain was talking up his new fire roaster in last week’s newsletter, how it enabled him to put up extra peppers during their peak season. I’m hoping there’s enough they come in every box this winter.

The other dish I want to talk about on Menu Monday is one more my daughter’s handiwork, although I will say it was overall, my idea. We’ve gotten tons of small, white, Japanese “hakuri” turnips in the boxes this fall. A mild turnip, they are great for salads and pickles as well as roasting. Still, with all the turnips we’ve had, more ideas are necessary. Enter my great friend Tamar. Remember, Chapter One, “How to Boil Water,” and as she says, “it’s hard to improve on the technology of the pot or the boil.” Oddly, in this chapter she does not instruct on how to boil and egg. So, let me quickly telly you as I make excellent boiled eggs. You put your eggs in a pot, cover with cold water–some would say only add enough water to cover–I think it makes not difference the amount of water, it’ll just take longer if you have more water–you let the water come to a boil. Stop. Turn off the heat. Watch the clock. Ten minutes later you eggs are done. FYI, I used to do the prick thing, but I’ve found out they come out just as good without punching a hole. It’s all a matter of not over-cooking. There were two things that made this egg boiling very Tamar, well three if you count the fact that anytime you boil anything you’re adding money to her karma account, but the other things were salsa verde and those turnips. Chapter One does conclude with a salsa verde recipe, Tamar noting that half the fun of boiling things is to have an excuse to eat salsa verde. Having already made salsa verde, the hard boiled eggs were done as that excuse. Also, the other thing, those turnips. I had decided to make a mash and I could not stand the idea of boiling water to cook the turnips for the mash and getting just one mere use out of said boil. Granted I had to get the temperature back up, after letting the eggs idle but the gist of the everlasting pot stood.

Once the turnips were soft, my daughter ran them through a ricer. The boiled turnips threw off a lot of water. We could have tossed that water, but I had the brilliant idea that the water contained a lot of turnip flavor, turnip juice if you may. We put the riced turnips and the turnip water in a pan on high heat, stirring a lot to prevent burning. I figured we were saving flavor this way, no? Once dry and fluffy, she incorporated a mustard butter she had made ages ago. I highly recommend this dish, regardless of how many turnips you’ve been getting.

*Wife works for Tomato Mountain




The Local Calendar 12/4/15 Piggy Bank, Holiday Gift Ideas, Indoor Markets, One of a Kind Show, Green Grocer, Local Foods, SBK Kitchen

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Posted: December 4, 2015 at 10:07 am

C555-logo_main-black

IMG_5183the-chicago-homegrown-cookbook-amazonGCMCB

 

Cochon 555, the event celebrating heritage breed pigs, in a food, wine, swine competition will be back next year and they have expanded their mission. The tour is now benefitting, Piggy Bank, a genetic sanctuary, for heritage breed pigs, that will provide free genetics and business plans to emerging family farms. The Cochon 555 2016 tour is dedicated to helping Piggy Bank create the first open-source agriculture platform for heritage species while raising global awareness for socially responsible farming. The Chicago event takes place on Sunday, April 24 at the Loews Hotel and tickets are on sale now.

The calendar is updated continuously. (Last updated 12/19) New events will be highlighted in red and in this paragraph!!!! 12/20 Pilsen Winter Holiday Market 12/20 Chicago Reader Made In Chicago Holiday Market See all that squash at the market, wondering what kind it is and what to do with it? Here are some answers.

Some holiday gift ideas in the book category. Nichols Farm was featured in a recently released book, Growing Tomorrow by organic farmer and New York Times best-selling author Forrest Pritchard.  The book is a farm-to-table journey in photos (photos by Molly M. Peterson) and recipes and a behind-the-scenes look at 18 sustainable farmers including Lloyd Nichols and his story. Having worked with Lloyd directly at the Green City Fulton Street market, I gained an appreciation for the time, dedication and really hard work that it takes to bring their diversity of produce to the market. They currently have a holiday sale for signups to their summer 2016 CSA.

Another holiday gift idea is cookbooks. My favorite “local” cookbook is The Chicago Homegrown Cookbook by Heather Lalley. It was published in 2009, so some of the chefs have moved on from the restaurants covered in the book. But the book is still relevant and the recipes are very accessible for any cook, they are seasonal and include a bunch of my “go to” items like Chef Bruce Sherman’s carrot soup. I have the hard cover and it is a nice size to read recipes from and the pictures are very helpful. Of course, the Green City Market cookbook is another “must have” for a book shelf and makes for a great holiday gift!!

Finally, during this holiday season when there are fewer farmers markets, support those stores who have supported the farmers, like one of the original ground breakers in local food in Chicago, the Green Grocer!! They are still the shiny penny on the block and this is the time of year where they are a welcome addition to the Chicago foodscape, get to Local Foods, signup for their newsletter, they have Chef Abra Behren’s food coming out of their kitchen, Rob Levitt and his team of butchers and are a source to things, like locally grown tomatoes in the winter, from Mighty Vine. Finally, get up to see our friends at Sauce and Bread Kitchen, I can guarantee your stomach will not be disappointed!!!!!!! You can buy Anne’s breads at the Green City Market  and Logan Square Market. Sign-up for their mailing list and get to one of the Stew Supper Club’s dinners or popups. Lots of creativity and deliciousness at SBK. Soup and Bread at the Hideout is on tap for 2016, signup to participate!

Here is something to get you in the Chanukah spirit. Finally, it is that time of year to give a little extra to organizations in the Local Food space, here is one, The Talking Farm. The Talking Farm in Skokie has continued to expand their programs, here is their year by the numbers. Lots going on this weekend, here is the month ahead!

The Local Month At A Glance

December 3-6

Chicago (River North) – Its the One-Of-A-Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart which will include vendors like Tim Burton’s and his maple syrup from Maplewood Farm. Jo Snow Syrups is booth #9071 , Katherine Anne Confections booth #9084

December 5-6

Chicago (Bridgeport)Renegade Craft Fair Bridgeport Art Center Pleasant House will be there 

December 5

FMChicago (Back of the Yards)The Plant Indoor Market (every 1st Saturday) 11am – 2pm 1400 W. 46th St. Pleasant House will be there

Chicago (Garfield Park )Annual Tropical and Succulent Plant Sale Garfield Park Conservatory

FM - Chicago (Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - Experimental Station Indoor Farmers Market (Through Dec 19)- 9am – 2pm The market is open year round inside Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone).

FM - Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market (12/19, 1/9/16, 1/23, 2/6, 2/20, 3/5, 3/19, 4/2, 4/16, 4/30)The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8am – 1pm

FM - Chicago (Lincoln Square) -  Faith In Place Winter Markets Berry United Methodist Church 4754 N Leavitt St, Chicago, 60625 (Lincoln Square neighborhood) 10am-2pm

Chicago (West Loop) - Tasting Table Open Market at Revel Believe tickets are sold out but Harvest Juicery will be there! Pleasant House will be there Honey Butter Fried Chicken is there serving chicken strips with honey butter

FM - Evanston Evanston Ecology Center Winter Farmers Market (Through 4/30/16, no mkt 12/26 or 1/2/16) -  2024 McCormick Blvd 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

FMEvanstonImmanuel Church Winter Market ( 12/19, 1/16/16, 1/30, 2/13, 2/27, 3/12, 3/19, 4/9, 4/23) 9am – 1pm 616 Lake Street

FM - Morton Grove - Morton Grove Winter Farmers Market - Morton Grove Civic Center 9am -2pm

December 6

Chicago (Lakeview/Ravenswood) - Sauce and Bread Kitchen Pop-Up at the Long Room 11am – 3pm 1612 W. Irving Park Road

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Winter Farmers Market (Through 3/20/16) – 10am -3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee

December 7

Chicago (Lincoln Park)Blue Plate Special Night at Local Foods Chef Abra Behrens food is delicious to begin with and the special Monday night changes every week and many of the staff throw in their ideas.

Chicago (Wicker Park)$20 Family Meal at The Trenchermen – This is not only one of the best deals in town (3 courses $20) but the food is delicious and they source from many of the local farmers.

December 8

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - The Hideout’s 17th Annual Last Chance Holiday Sale 2015  1354 W. Wabansia This is your first chance at the Last Chance sale. Here’s an idea, get some nourishment at Local Food’s Stock Cafe around the corner so you are fortified to shop and imbibe at the Hideout!

December 10

Chicago (Bridgeport)Mash Tun x Insiders Roundtable: Issue 008 Release + Live Radio Show: Mash Tun Journal 7-11pm Co-Prosperity Sphere 3219 S. Morgan St.

December 11-13

Chicago (North Center)Irish Christmas Market Northcenter Town Square

December 11

Chicago (Lincoln Park)“Winter Lumberland” Rebuilding Exchange Holiday Market 7-9:30pm 1740 W. Elston The Stew Supper Club will be there!

December 12

FM - Chicago (Back of the Yards) - The Plant Indoor Market (every 1st Saturday) 11am – 2pm 1400 W. 46th St.

FM - Chicago (Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - Experimental Station Indoor Farmers Market (Through Dec 19)- 9am – 2pm The market is open year round inside Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone).

FM - Evanston Evanston Ecology Center Winter Farmers Market (Through 4/30/16, no mkt 12/26 or 1/2/16) -  2024 McCormick Blvd 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SchaumburgPunchbowl Social Grand Opening Old school games, shuffleboard, arcade, marbles, darts, local food and craft beverages. 

December 13

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Winter Farmers Market (Through 3/20/16) – 10am -3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee 

Chicago (West Loop)Holidose Market at Morgan Manufacturing

FM – Chicago (Rogers Park) - Glenwood Sunday Market - (1/10/16, 2/14, 3/13, 4/10, 5/15) 9am – 2pm The Glenwood Bar 6962 N. Glenwood

December 14

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - Blue Plate Special Night at Local Foods Chef Abra Behrens food is delicious to begin with and the special Monday night changes every week and many of the staff throw in their ideas.

Chicago (Wicker Park) - $20 Family Meal at The Trenchermen - This is not only one of the best deals in town (3 courses $20) but the food is delicious and they source from many of the local farmers.

December 15

Chicago (Logan Square) - SAUCED market “The Night Before Christmas” 6pm – 11pm Emporium Logan Square 2363 North Milwaukee

December 17

New!!! ChampaignDIY Cheesemaking Class Directly at the Source Prairie Fruit Farm

December 18

Chicago (Lakeview)Virtue Cider and La Quercia tasting Whole Foods Depaul 4-7pm 959 W. Fullerton

December 19

FM - Chicago (Back of the Yards) - The Plant Indoor Market (every 1st Saturday) 11am – 2pm 1400 W. 46th St.

FM - Chicago (Hyde Park/Woodlawn) - Experimental Station Indoor Farmers Market (Through Dec 19)- 9am – 2pm The market is open year round inside Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone).

FM - Chicago (Lincoln Park) -  Green City Market (1/9/16, 1/23, 2/6, 2/20, 3/5, 3/19, 4/2, 4/16, 4/30)The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 8am – 1pm

FM - Evanston Evanston Ecology Center Winter Farmers Market (Through 4/30/16, no mkt 12/26 or 1/2/16)  2024 McCormick Blvd 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

FM - Evanston - Immanuel Church Winter Market (1/16/16, 1/30, 2/13, 2/27, 3/12, 3/19, 4/9, 4/23) 9am – 1pm 616 Lake Street

December 20

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Winter Farmers Market (Through 3/20/16) – 10am -3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee

***New!!! FMChicago (Pilsen)Pilsen Winter Holiday Market – 11am – 3pm Honky Tonk BBQ

***New!!! Chicago (River West)Chicago Reader Made In Chicago Market 11am – 3pm Plumbers Hall 1340 W. Washington

December 22

Chicago (Lincoln Park) - The Hideout’s 17th Annual Last Chance Holiday Sale 2015  1354 W. Wabansia This is truly your last chance at the Last Chance sale. Here’s an idea, get some nourishment at Local Food’s Stock Cafe around the corner so you are fortified to shop and imbibe at the Hideout!

December 25

Merry Xmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 27

FM - Chicago (Logan Square) - Logan Square Winter Farmers Market (Through 3/20/16) – 10am -3pm 2755 N. Milwaukee

2016!!!!!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

Another winter of community, goodwill and good soup, Soup and Bread at the Hideout

Saturday February 26 Cider Summit Chicago

March 24-26 The Good Food Festival at UIC Forum

Sunday April 24 Cochon 555

Chicago Gourmet Sept. 23- 25 Holiday ticket sale




2015 Golden Beet Award Winners Announced

By
Posted: December 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm

 

From the Illinois Stewardship Alliance:

Illinois Stewardship Alliance is pleased to announce the 2015 Golden Beet Award winners. The Golden Beets, now in their 5th year, are a series of awards created by Illinois Stewardship Alliance in order to highlight progressive local food practices and recognize the people who are pushing the local food movement forward in Illinois. The winners represent some of the most innovative practitioners and pioneers of local food throughout the state.

“Through our work across the state we come across so many amazing people and local food projects, yet they often never receive the recognition they deserve. When people think of agriculture in Illinois they think of corn and soybeans and often don’t realize that there is so much more going on. We think of the Golden Beet Awards as a way to draw attention to the people and projects that are proving local food systems can work in Illinois and are leading by example,” says Molly Gleason, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Outreach Coordinator.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance solicits nominations from the general public in six categories: farm to school; community food projects; restaurants and institutions; innovative farmer; scaling up; and other varieties.

In order to insure an impartial selection, the Alliance organizes an outside committee of persons involved in local food systems throughout the state which review the nominees and decide on the winners in the specific categories. The 2015 winners will be awarded at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance Annual Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 3rd. The winners are:

Farm to School Real Food at Northwestern University Website: https://www.facebook.com/NURealFood/

Real Food at NU was founded in Spring 2014 by a group of NU students, lead by Colleen Fitzgerrell and Miranda Cawley, in the hope of bringing healthier and tastier food on campus and contributing to a systematical change in our current food system toward a more environmentally sustainable and socially just one. The mission of Real Food at NU is to create a student-led movement that engages administrators, faculty, staff, workers, producers and community members to enact a shift to a community-based food system built on fair labor practices and food that is humane and ecologically-sound. After more than a year of gathering community support and meeting with administrators, in June of 2015 members from NURF obtained official institutional commitment from President Morton Shapiro, stating that NU will source at least 20% real food by 2020.

NURF 3 NURF 2 NURF 1

Community Food Project Name: Cheryl Muñoz of Sugar Beet Food Co-op Website: http://sugarbeetcoop.squarespace.com/

Cheryl is the Executive Director of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, which is a non-for-profit organization that provides food literacy programming to the surrounding community, as well as the founder of and marketing and outreach lead for Sugar Beet Food Co-op, a community owned grocery store that opened in July 2015 in Oak Park, IL. Cheryl, seeking a locally-owned source for local and sustainably-grown food, began raising awareness and support for Sugar Beet Food Co-op in 2012 with her neighbors. After three years of building owner support, they were able to open the Co-op this summer. Along the way, Cheryl began the Sugar Beet Schoolhouse (501c3), which is the education and community development arm of her work. The Schoolhouse works in collaboration with other community partners to provide food literacy programming such as cooking classes, gardening workshops, summer camps and after school programming.  Cheryl says, “I am the mother of 2 young kids and through our adventures together we have connected with beautiful land, food and people. I want land to be nourishing for future generations and our food system will only be sustainable if it is localized. I am not a farmer but my work is to inspire people to consider that the food from our region, grown by the good people that act as stewards of our land is valuable and unparalleled.”

20140315_Sugar_Beet_Good_Food_Fest_Fairfax-5861 cheryl cooking ymca CHERYL_STOREFRONT

 

Scaling Up (Awarded to projects or individuals that help scale up local food production and availability throughout the state) Name: Marnie Record, developer of Lincoln Land Community College’s Value Added Local Food Program Website:  http://www.llcc.edu/career-training/workforce/value-added-local-food-program/

Responding to the growth of the local food industry, Lincoln Land Community College’s Workforce Development division launched a Value-Added Local Food certificate program in the fall of 2014. A value-added product is any product grown by a farmer and processed in some way to add value. Jams, pickles, sauces, and salsas all fall into this category. This certificate program, the first of its kind in the nation, blends culinary arts, local food systems, and business skill development to prepare students for a successful career as a local food entrepreneur or in the broad-based local food culinary industry. Courses expose students to classical and contemporary culinary techniques, and sustainable foodservice operations. Graduates will be well-positioned to advance their careers in a field that has experienced a farmers’ market growth rate of 150 percent in the last decade. The program expects to result in the development of new food businesses in Sangamon County and around the state to grow our economy by capturing a portion of the $48 billion Illinois consumers spend annually on food.

IMG_1042 IMG_1179LLCC Value-Added Class

 

Innovative Farmer Name: Dustin Kelly of Autumn Berry Inspired Website: www.autumnberryinspired.com

Dustin Kelly is not your traditional farmer. He wild harvests berries from the exotic autumn olive shrub. Once widely planted in the U.S. to prevent soil erosion, the shrub has now become an invasive species that outcompetes with native species, alters landscapes, and can endanger delicate ecosystems. After learning that the fruit of the autumn olive was edible and nutritious, Dustin saw a great opportunity to feed people while also helping to heal farmland from this invasive affliction. Over the past four years, with help from friends, family, and employees, his budding company, Autumn Berry Inspired, LLC, has developed techniques to efficiently harvest and store large quantities of autumn berries as well as create value-added food products, such as jam and fruit leathers, to let people experience this under-recognized super-fruit. Through the harvesting process they remove large fruiting branches on the shrub and collect every berry they can, removing tens of thousands of seeds from the seed bank and keeping birds from eating the fruit and continuing to disperse the seeds. The products are sold at farmers markets, stores, and conferences to promote widespread consumption of autumn berries, for the purposes of sustainability and food security, land restoration, and eating this aggressive species into submission. Dustin says, “I feel there are important social, spiritual, and political decisions we make with food: how it is produced, how we purchase it, and how we share it.  Yet there is something simple and timeless about farming, how we work with these basic resources.  I find farming is a way to have a voice for long-term sustainability, and a stake in the future.”

chenxi Dustin Day 1 jams (2) IMG_0006 (1) IMG_0029

 

Restaurant and Institutions Name: Big Grove Tavern Website: http://www.biggrovetavern.com/

Big Grove Tavern is the first true Farm-to-Table restaurant in the Champaign-Urbana area. Chef Jessica Gorin and Sous Chefs Terrah King and Tomasz Nilges draw inspiration from the local farmer’s market and utilize exceptional ingredients at the height of their season. Each menu reflects their solid commitment to using naturally-raised and organic ingredients sourced directly from local farms and farmers’ markets. The name comes from a large stand of trees called, “The Big Grove,” which offered shelter from the wide open prairie skies during the earliest days of the Champaign-Urbana community. Now known as Busey Woods, you can still see the remnant of Big Grove in Urbana today.

Corn Succotash Nosh Chicken n WafflesBig Grove Chefs

 

Other Varieties: Eden’s Place Nature Center Website: http://www.edenplacenaturecenter.org/

In 1997, community member, founder, and Executive Director of Fuller Park Community Development Michael Howard was concerned about the serious lead poisoning problems affecting the neighborhood children. Through research he discovered that Fuller Park contained the highest lead levels in the city of Chicago. As a community leader he wanted to make some serious changes for the sake of his family and his entire neighborhood, and he decided that this work would start with the illegal dumpsite located across the street from his home. Mounds of waste over two stories tall encompassed the entire three acres of land. Mr. Howard acquired the deed for the land and involved the community in a large scale, three year clean-up of the dumpsite. Alongside his wife and fellow activist Amelia, and in partnership with hundreds of volunteers and community members, Mr. Howard led a clean-up project in which more than 200 tons of waste including concrete, wood, tires and other toxin-laced materials were removed from the site. Upon clean-up of the site, the next step was development.  Tons of fresh soil was brought in to establish the Great Lawn and create a place of beauty and peace amidst the busy Chicagoland neighborhood. Today Eden’s Place boasts a farm and CSA, as well as hosts a farmers market and a variety of programs to introduce and involve the community in nature and sustainability.

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Weekly Harvest of Eat Local Links

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Posted: December 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm

 

GMO’s and your local cheese.

Speaking of cheese, don’t you still wanna get it raw?

You cannot eat climate change.

Urban Farming Hits the Big Leagues.

Eat local fried eggs.

Have you checked out Lee’s blog yet?

Meat matters.