eOrganic webinars this week: Corn Types and Barcode based data collection

There is still time to register for this week’s webinars!

September 27: 10AM Pacific, 11 Mountain, 12 Central, 1 Eastern: Hybrid, F1, Double Cross, and Open-pollinated Corn: What Does it All Mean? The intended audience is anybody with an interest in different types of corn varieties and their relative merits. In the webinar, corn breeders Margaret Smith of Cornell University and Richard Pratt of New Mexico State University will explain what different types of corn varieties are, how uniform or variable each type is, and highlight the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different variety types. This webinar is part of the NIFA OREI funded research project Breeding Non-Commodity Corn for Organic Production Systems. Register here.

September 28: 11AM Pacific, 12 Mountain, 1 Central, 2 Eastern: Part 3 of Webinar Series on Barcode Based Digital Data collection for Vegetable Breeding Programs: Harvest Data and Final Analysis

Part 3 of this ongoing series will focus on harvest based component of the system with an emphasis on the connected instrumentation for dimensions, weights, photographs and quality instruments and how data is compiled for final analysis. At the conclusion, participants will be able to evaluate whether they will choose to invest in this technology and will have examples of how to get started in assembling their own data collection pipeline.  If you haven’t attended any other webinars in this series, register here. The recordings of the first 2 webinars can be found on the Plant Breeding and Genomics YouTube channel!

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Still two Land Connection ‘Women who farm’ field days left

I don’t know about you but I am kicking myself that I have missed these..   this weekend sept 24 focuses on fruit and herbs!


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IOGA-ASAP Field day at U of I tomorrow

Sept 14  Building a farm to fork business

After starting at the Student Sustainable Farm at 9.30 with Matt Turino w

We move to the I Hotel at 10.30. 

Agenda and some notes.. 

10:45 a.m.  Dr. Carmen Ugarte and team members will discuss a new Illinois Local Grains Initiative .   This includes an on-farm trial and related on-campus work that involves NRES, Crop Science, Food Sciences, ABE, ACE, USDA-ARS and Extension!

11:10 a.m. Brian Jacobson will describe how Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Food Processing Pilot Plant is partnering with U of I’s dining services before Dr. Juan Andrade explains how their research can help optimize processing for local product development—  Brian and Dining services are taking all the organic grain from our new organic study that resides on the south farms for use in the dining halls.  Juan Andrade will look at how processing influences grain quality. Next year we hope for capacity to look at edamame quality.. not this year.

12:15 p.m. Lunch will feature SSF produce and Chefarmer Ken Myszka of Epiphany Farms who will discuss how to grow a farm to fork business. * http://www.epiphanyfarms.com/kenmyszka/  This is a local farm to table success story you wont want to miss.

1.30. Fred Kolb and Bill Davison will talk about a new wheat variety named Erisman that was developed by the University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station and released in 2017. Erisman is an early maturing soft red winter wheat adapted to Illinois and surrounding states for organic production. The new variety was developed by the small grains breeding program headed by Fred Kolb. The project was spearheaded by Allison Krill, who worked with Fred since 2013.  Breeding lines were selected that were disease resistant and moderately tall to provide competition with weeds. Breeding lines were evaluated at multiples locations for several years. The U of I wheat breeding program partnered with local organic farmer Harold Wilkins to evaluate Erisman under organic production on Janie’s Farm in Danforth IL.  Harold has been working with others including U of I Extension’s Bill Davison and the Grand Prairie Grain Guild to develop high quality grains for local production.   The variety has been named “Erisman,” in honor of Jack Erisman, a long-time leader in Illinois’ sustainable agriculture movement and one of the first organic farmers in the state, who was involved in the formation of the Illinois Organic Crop Improvement Association Chapter, The Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society and the Council of Food and Agriculture Research.  While Jack acknowledges that the variety might be tall, like he is, he isn’t sure he deserves the honor. The new variety is already making waves as grain grown in the 2017-18 growing season on campus’ South Farms will be milled at the Food Processing Pilot Plant for use by campus’ Dining Services.

At 2:30 p.m. Interested folks will go to campus to tour the FSHN Pilot Processing Plant.

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Promoting equity in local food systems through Cooperative Extension

When: Wednesday, September 6, 12 – 1 pm Pacific Time/3 – 4 pm Eastern Time

How can we apply equity and anti-racism principles to our food system work? In answer to this question, this webinar provides three examples from the Cooperative Extension System of efforts to promote equity and undo racism in local food systems. These examples from North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania offer a range of experiences and strategies.

Kaitlin Wojciak, from Michigan State University Extension, will describe a recent training and learning group dedicated to exploring issues of power, privilege, and racial equity for the state’s Community Food Systems team. Shorlette Ammons, from North Carolina’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will discuss the Center’s efforts to embed an equity lens and practice into all areas of its work. Heather Manzo, from Penn State Extension, will describe work with an urban food policy council to engage diverse community members and positively impact equity issues in the metropolitan food system.

Please join our speakers to discuss how these equity initiatives have evolved, the challenges they have faced, and the supportive factors that contributed to the success of their efforts. This webinar is put on by the working group on Undoing Inequality in the Food System and the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association.

Please register here and be sure to include any questions you have for our speakers about their work.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


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Register today for this Sept 14 Field Day if you want food

On Sept 14 you will want to go to the Sustainable Student Farm on the U of I campus at 9.30 and then the I Hotel to hear ‘CheffarmerTM’  from Ken Myszka to learn how he and Bloomington’s Epiphany Farms are developing a farm to for organism that uses intensive pasture rotation and permaculture methods to provide the Central Illinois community with fresh, nutritious, local food to reconnect people to their food. Its worth the drive to their Bloomington restaurant (220 E. Front Street) to try the food!

After training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Ken Myszaka engaged in the production side of the food business and after that he and the Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group devoted themselves to the farm to fork movement.   You can find more about Ken on the internet- eg: an article from Illinois Farmer , and from the Chicago Tribute (warning the pop up adds are obnoxious).  *The nice images are from here.

In addition to hearing from him you will learn about how Illinois Dining Services, the Sustainable Student Farm and the Food Processing Plant are making farm to fork happen at the U of I!

If you want to make sure to get a taste of this you need to register this week!  Just $10 in advance.  On site or late registrations may not get lunch.  Register here

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IOGA-ASAP-SSF Sept 14 Field Day: Growing Farm to Fork Businesses



To register for this event ($10 in advance, %15 at the door) click here

Start at the SSF

9.30 a.m. with a tour of U of I’s Sustainable Student Farm, 3505 S. Lincoln Ave. Urbana, Il 61801, led by  Farm Manager Matt Turino.

At 10.30 we will head over to the I Hotel (1900 S 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820) for the following program:
10:45 a.m.  Dr. Carmen Ugarte and team members will discuss a new Illinois Local Grains Initiative
11:10 a.m. Brian Jacobson will describe how Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Food Processing Pilot Plant is partnering with U of I’s dining services before Dr. Juan Andrade explains how their research can help optimize processing for local product development—
12:15 p.m. Lunch will feature SSF produce and Chefarmer Ken Myszka of Epiphany Farms who will discuss how to grow a farm to fork business.
1:30 p.m. Dr. Fred Kolb and Bill Davison will recognize Jack Erisman, Pana Farmer, and discuss the release of U of I’s new wheat variety!
2:30 p.m. Interested folks will go to campus to tour the FSHN Pilot Processing Plant.

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National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Intern

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), which represents over 100 organizations working for small and mid-sized farms through advocacy to support agriculture and food systems that are ecologically and socially responsible, is looking for a policy intern for the fall term. This short term position (Aug.-Jan.) is in Washington DC. The Policy Intern will have the opportunity to work on a range of issues and campaigns, including local and regional food systems, working lands conservation, beginning and minority farmer issues, sustainable agriculture research, crop insurance reform and much more.

The full description and info on how to apply are at: http://sustainableagriculture.net/about-us/jobs/.

Apply by July 20!

This is a great (paid!) short-term opportunity for some real-life experience in Science Policy.



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Summer Field Days

Don’t miss upcoming organic field days!  http://illinoisorganicgrowers.org/events/

So far there is

  1. a MOSES field day on artisinal grains July 24 in Pecatonia IL
  2. an ‘In her boots’ field day in Libertyville IL. on Aug. 24 and,
  3. an ‘Opportunities in Organic Farming’ event planned for Sept. 8 in Atlanta IL.



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Prairie River Network Day and Picnic at Allerton

Don’t forget about Sunday’s PRN Day at Allerton! Join PRN staff, board, fellow members, and river lovers as we celebrate river stewardship at the fun-filled PRN Day at Allerton!

In 1967, the proposed Oakley Reservoir on the Sangamon River was the catalyst for the organization that would become Prairie Rivers Network. That year, Bruce and Patricia Hannon and others collected 20,000 signatures in a petition drive to stop the dam that would have put hundreds of acres of Allerton Park underwater.
When: May 21, 2017; noon – 4:00 pm (rain or shine)

Where: Allerton Park Music Barn, 588 Allerton Road, Monticello, Illinois 61856

Cost: Free
Bring a picnic, your lawn chairs, a hat, and a full water bottle, and enjoy these planned activities:

  • A guided nature — accompany Environmental Almanac creator and PRN board member Rob Kanter on a walk to observe and photograph wildlife, wildflowers, and whatever else we find
  • A guided birding walk with local birder and PRN member David Thomas
  • The Traveling Science Center — learn about types of habitats and species diversity. Great for kids and adults!
  • Stormwater/Rainfall Simulator – Learn what happens to all that rainwater when it falls on the ground. Courtesy of the Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District.


  • The Water Project, an ensemble performance developed by local director and civic theater advocate, Latrelle Bright, examining our relationship with water


  • A sampling of locally-produced honey and locally-grown artisanal grain breads
  • An art and photography exhibit by local artists and photographers


  • A River of Hope: Save a Place. Change Your Life — a multimedia reflection on 50 years of stewardship, including readings from PRN member Amy Hassinger’s new novel, After the Dam. Copies of Amy’s book will be available for purchase at the event.

RSVP appreciated to info@prairierivers.org. Check the PRN Facebook page for up-to-date event information.

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Program Coordinator


Sustainability is the defining challenge of the 21st century and COSA believes that you cannot manage sustainability until you can measure it.

Driven by the conviction that reliable data enables better decision-making and greater accountability, we develop indicators, design tools, and create solutions to better measure and manage sustainability. We are a global consortium of institutions dedicated to accelerating the social, economic, and environmental elements of agricultural sustainability. We are purposely small, are committed to excellence, and are influential on a global scale.

COSA is hiring a Program Coordinator to assist the Measurement Systems Manager with overseeing and developing various aspects of our technical work. Specifically, the position entails coordinating various aspects of our Performance Monitoring Program—implementing tools designed for managers that provide fast and affordable measurement of sustainability initiatives. Tasks include developing sustainability management frameworks with clients, adapting field data collection tools, managing relationships with partners and stakeholders, data analysis, and report writing.

The position also involves assisting in the ongoing development and maintenance of COSA’s Global Indicator Library—a hallmark of COSA’s work in global standardization of sustainability measurement. Tasks involve helping keep COSA indicators current, doing research to benchmark indicators to global initiatives, and assistance in maintaining our online database.
The ideal candidate will:

1. Have familiarity with sustainability topics across social, economic, and environmental themes
2. Have good interpersonal and communication skills to work with a variety of clients and stakeholders; must be fluent or highly advanced in English
3. Be comfortable with technology—we utilize a variety of software solutions and the ideal candidate would be a quick study
4. Be able to perform basic/intermediate data analysis
5. Be detail oriented and committed to high quality work

The job would take place at the candidate’s own location. Must have excellent connectivity to the internet and be available for reliable voice and email communication regularly during East Coast USA business hours.

The COSA team shares a high level of personal initiative and responsibility for great work, a strong set of world-class skills, a deep respect for the value of different perspectives, commitment to the practical application of good scientific methods, and a passionate commitment to creating a more sustainable world.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Jessica Mullan, Measurement Systems Manager (jm@thecosa.org).


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