September 4th Field Day: Keystone Cover Crops, Soil Health, and Value Adding with Diversity Workshop

Mark your calendar for Thursday, September 4th and plan to be a guest at this Workshop/Field Day which showcases three separate ongoing research projects being conducted at Dave Bishop’s PrairiErth Farm as well as other conservation practices. 

PrairiErth Farm’s Dave Bishop will discuss the 3-crop system of farming being used on his farm, as well as other value adding techniques that can be utilized on small or large scale farming operations.

Dr. Bill Becker, crop consultant at the farm will discuss balancing micronutrients.

Liz Pegg, doctoral student at Illinois State University and manager of the “Food Forest Project” will discuss what has been learned in the 2 year research project and the role of cover crops in fertility and attracting bees as beneficial insects.
Casandra Wilcoxen, a graduate student with the University of Illinois, will discuss her research, which includes bird point count surveys, butterfly and bee transect surveys, and setting insect traps on PrairiErth farm as well as other farms in central Illinois in order to discover which conservation practices are most beneficial to wildlife.

Dr. Sam Wortman, University of Illinois crop science professor, and his grad assistants will also discuss their research project: “Keystone Cover Crop Species- understanding the relative contribution of individual species to soil health.” A plot tour will also be given.

This unique workshop will be take place 9 a.m. to noon with lunch included. The event will be held just 4miles south/east of Atlanta, Illinois (or one half mile west of PrairieErth Farm on 2000th Blvd.) Please RSVP to Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Phone: 217-528-1563, Email:

Workshop sponsored by: Illinois Stewardship Alliance & PrairiErth Farm

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NCR-SARE announces the 2014 “NCR-SARE Hero” Award, Honors Dale Mutch

NCR-SARE is pleased to announce Dale Mutch of Portage, Michigan is being honored as a 2014 “NCR-SARE Hero.”

Coordinated by the NCR-SARE Alumni Organization, this recognition honors the leadership, vision, contributions, and impact that these heroes have made in the field of sustainable agriculture in the north central region. The NCR-SARE Hero Award recognizes individuals who 1) have provided service to NCR-SARE, sustainability, and/or national SARE, 2) have shown leadership in sustainable agriculture locally and regionally, and 3) have made lasting impacts to sustainability in the North Central region.  Continue reading

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2014 Research and Education and Graduate Student competitive grant programs

SARE_NorthCentral_CMYKNCR-SARE is pleased to announce the projects recommended for funding for the 2014 Research and Education and Graduate Student competitive grant programs. More than 25 projects were awarded a total of more than $1.7 million through these two NCR-SARE grant programs, which offer competitive grants for researchers, graduate students, organizations, and others who are exploring sustainable agriculture in America’s Midwest.

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Last day to register for the 2014 Midwest Biochar Conference

Register Today!

Today, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, is the last day to register for the 2014 Midwest Biochar ConferenceToday is also the deadline to submit a poster.

Some oral and poster presentation topics included: Biochar as a replacement for coal; Biochar and the Emerald Ash Borer; Biochar and Soils; How biochar relates to water quality, storm water runoff, and greenhouse gas; and biochar production. Plus there will be ample opportunities for networking and an opportunity to tour the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center laboratories.

For more information, visit the conference website.

Please note: if you are giving an oral presentation or presenting a poster, the registration for the conference is separate.

Questions or missed deadlines? Email or call Nancy Holm (Co-Conference Coordinator) at or 217-244-3330.

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Job Opportunity: Manager, Donor Communications for Freedom from Hunger

Position Announcement

Title/Status: Manager, Donor Communications
Reports to: Director, Development and Communications
Location: Davis, California

Position Summary

The Manager, Donor Communications is responsible for building and maintaining communications with individual donors. He/she implements approved strategies to meet revenue goals of the annual giving program, administers the gift acknowledgement program for all levels of individual giving, and coordinates solicitor acknowledgments for higher-end donors. He/she manages the vendor relationship for direct mail and online fundraising and oversees the execution of campaigns. The manager also analyzes giving patterns and levels of the individual donor base for appropriate placement in the annual, renewal and major gifts programs. Continue reading

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Job Opportunity: Eden Hall Farm Assistant

Go to   to check available position for Farm Assistant
On-line applications must be received by August 1, 2014

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New “Food for Thought”

The University of Illinois College of ACES recently released the second installment of its publication “Food for Thought.” The magazine focuses on the research conducted and solutions found by the scientists within the college. It can be read and/or downloaded here. The first issue (published in 2012) can be found here.

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Thoughts from “Growing Cities”

Photo courtesy of Prosperity Gardens

Last night, the Prosperity Gardens held a fundraiser at the Art Theater in downtown Champaign, with refreshments, t-shirts, the first public appearance of their new bus (still without a name, but I hear that they’re taking suggestions), and a screening of the new documentary “Growing Cities,” about the current state of urban agriculture in the United States. The Urbana Park District screened the film earlier in the summer, and there may be further opportunities to see it during the coming year. Continue reading

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Farm Foundation Forum: The Soil Renaissance

Healthy soil is key to maintaining vibrant, profitable and sustainable natural resource systems. Without healthy soils the challenge of feeding the world’s population becomes more daunting.

The July 16 Farm Fouforumlogondation Forum will examine the Soil Renaissance, an initiative by Farm Foundation, NFP and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to make improving soil health the cornerstone of land use management decisions. Continue reading

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Woody Perennial Polyculture Site: Summer 2014 Update

Photo Credit: Rob Kanter

Earlier this summer, I went out with Rob Kanter (writer of Environmental Almanac, instructor in by the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, and also my dad) to the Woody Perennial Polyculture site. The trees were just beginning to bud, and the bushes stretching out green growth.

It’s quite a place: The Woody Perennial Polyculture site stands south of the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Windsor Road in Urbana, right next to the Sustainable Student farms and University Fruit Research farm. Its two founders, Kevin Wolz and Ron Revord, greeted us out by the fields.

This year is their third planting season, and the first year that they are expecting yield from nearly all of their crops – hazelnuts, currants, grapes, raspberries, and chestnuts, with only the apple trees not yet producing. Continue reading

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