2022 was a very full year for The Land Connection. Follow along to see just a snapshot of what this organization was up to over the past year. (And be sure to stay tuned for more as we head full steam into 2023!)
We kicked off Perennial Crop Cooking classes! This six-part series hosted in partnership with Common Ground Food Coop featured recipes for fire cider, cocktail bitters, wild fermented sodas, and more.
After a year of COVID disruptions, TLC was thrilled to host nearly 150 farmers from around the country for the fourth annual Organic Grain Conference. Harold Wilken of Janie’s Mill gave an *amazing* keynote address!
The TLC staff took a road trip to Bloomington-Normal to hear Ken Meter share insights after 50 years of analyzing food systems. Ken’s book, “Building Community Food Webs,” is a must read!
Food safety starts on the farm. In April, we helped farmers review their food safety plans to ensure that the food that leaves the farm will be safe when it reaches the family table.
TLC hires our first Local Foods Program Manager! The newly-launched program focuses on building meaningful relationships between eaters and the people who produce their food, teaching new skills to folks with varying degrees of culinary experience, and providing pathways to participate in the local food community.
Burnt Hill Cattle Co. graciously hosted TLC and the Embarras Grazing partnership for a Regenerative Grazing Field Day! Often maligned for their environmental impact, when managed correctly, livestock can restore the natural seedbank, reduce nutrient loss, and cut back on the fertilizer cost for farmers.
A little rain couldn’t stop us from gathering climate-conscious farmers, students, and eaters at Zumwalt Acres. We learned about their research on carbon sequestration through the use of biochar and basalt rock dust.
We received our very first USDA Beginner Farmer Rancher Development Program grant to the tune of $638,000. This funding is for building land access solutions for Illinois’ next-generation farmers through Illinois FarmLink.
Our newly hired Farmer Training Co-Coordinators dove head first into the 5th annual Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day! Farmers from around the country gathered in Michigan to meet with industry and university experts and other farmers and see weeding machines demonstrated in the field.
Our annual farm-to-table chef competition, the Artisan Cup & Fork, was back in full effect after two years of COVID adaptations. HomeGrown swept the People’s Choice and Critic’s Choice award with their incredible Roasted Pork Belly with Pumpkin Chutney and Herbed Kefir Sauce!
An ambitious group of farmers and home gardeners wrapped up Grow Your Farm Business, a 7-week intensive course preparing them to launch a new farming or cottage food enterprise. During their last week together, the cohort shared their ideas during Pitch Fest. Missed out? This course will be offered again in 2023!
Our incredible Illinois FarmLink staff joined the team! These five folks will lead efforts to empower farmers and landowners throughout the process of finding farmland or finding someone to buy or lease farmland. The team enjoyed their time learning from Land for Good Senior Advisor, Kathy Ruhf.