Farmer & Food Business Training
Our farmer and food business training programs are designed to create positive environmental and economic outcomes for farmers and food entrepreneurs. Check out our calendar of unique business development and production training opportunities to ensure the success of your food and farming businesses. You can also visit our courses and resources to find additional skills and information necessary for your business needs.
The Land Connection hosts year-round farmers markets in Champaign-Urbana for community members to access locally grown, raised, and produced foods. Our farmers markets serve as an incubator for small and beginning food and farm businesses. They are also the site for Kids Kits and our food access work. The Champaign Farmers Market takes place from 3-6pm on Tuesdays from May through October in downtown Champaign. The Champaign-Urbana Winter Farmers Market takes place from 8am-12pm on Saturdays from November through April inside of Lincoln Square Mall in downtown Urbana.
Centering consumer choice and empowering shoppers by expanding their food budgets and giving them more opportunity to buy locally grown, raised, and produced foods is a critical part of our work in central Illinios. If you are enrolled in federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Link/EBT) or WIC & Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, we can help you double or triple your purchasing power at area farmers markets.
If you are looking to buy, rent, lease, or sell farmland in Illinois, our Illinois FarmLink program can help. Illinois FarmLink is designed to help maintain family farms and keep our rural communities vibrant by connecting landowners looking for farmers and farmland seekers searching for farms. Visit Illinois FarmLink to find resources, events, and dedicated professionals to help you navigate successful land transfer or tenancy.
Local Food Education
Providing culturally relevant and approachable recipe and nutrition information, regardless of culinary experience, is our philosophy when designing educational programs for consumers. Our goal is to help eaters shop their values and align local foods with their needs, including convenience and affordability. Find recipes, information, events, and kids programming through our local food programming.
Founded in 2001 in Evanston, Illinois by author and good food advocate, Terra Brockman, The Land Connection started with a vision of preserving farmland. Though protecting and enhancing farmland remains a core component of our organization, TLC has taken a new programming direction to achieve our mission. Rather than preserving acreage ourselves, we have chosen to expand our farmer training programs. Beginning this expansion in 2004, TLC created Central Illinois Farm Beginnings, a year-long training course for beginning farmers. Five years later, in 2009, TLC became a founding member of the national Farm Beginning Collaborative, which now supports farmer training programs across the United States. From there, we have added a number of training opportunities for farmers of all backgrounds and experience levels. Since our founding, TLC has been located in Evanston, Sidney, and Bloomington. In 2013, our organization moved to Champaign, where we launched our work in food access.
In our current form, The Land Connection offers farm and food business training, farmers markets, food access programs, Illinois FarmLink, and local food education.
We provide farmers the training and education they need to improve environmental and ecological outcomes for our community, and economic and quality of life outcomes for our farmers. We strive to build connections between farmers to create a deep sense of community and social support for regenerative farming. We offer this training through conferences, workshops, field days, and webinars. We also offer farmers and landowners the opportunity to connect through our program, Illinois FarmLink.
Our Champaign Farmers Market and Champaign-Urbana Winter Farmers Market are the cornerstones of our work in food access. They are a place where farmers can access new customers and the community can access nutritious, locally grown and produced foods. We organize Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC/Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program incentives at our markets, as well as those in the area, to help underserved families enjoy food grown by their neighbors.
In addition, TLC fosters connections with the community at large to provide education on the importance of a local food system. Our local food education work is designed to help consumers better understand their role in their local food economy and provide them with the tools and skills needed to purchase and prepare locally grown, raised, and produced foods. We publish blogs, podcasts, and videos, as well as organize community events to help bring the message of local food to the public.