Last week I traveled up to Chicago to go to the Good Food Festival. The gathering brought together policy makers, educators, food entrepreneurs, and farmers, just to name a few. There was a floor full of exhibitors with foods to taste, demos–like how to make your own kombucha–and organizations to learn from.
But the most exciting part for me was the announcement of the Beginning Farmer of the Year award. This award was launched by Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Upper Midwest CRAFT Farmer Alliance 2013 in order to celebrate and promote new farmers growing for our local and sustainable food and farm economy. This year the award was opened up to beginning farmers from across the greater Chicago food-shed, and was sponsored by the newly formed Routes2Farm, a group of farmer alliances (including The Land Connection), who are bringing resources together to help beginning farmers succeed. Each of the alliances nominated a beginning farmer, and then the steering committee voted on a winner.
The Land Connection was thrilled to nominate Hans and Katie Bishop of PrairiErth farm for the award. Hans and Katie are an important part of The Land Connection’s farmer network, as they present and teach at our workshops, attend our workshops, and will be a vendor at our Champaign Farmers’ Market this year. You can watch the nomination video about Hans and Katie here.
The nominees were all invited to the Good Food Festival last Friday, and the winner was announced at the opening symposium. The winner of the award was Grani’s Acres, a central Illinois farm that produces vegetables and eggs. You can learn more about Grani’s Acres, and all of the beginning farmer nominees on the Routes to Farm website.