Am truly sorry for you if you missed the third IOGA fest that took place last Saturday at Gray Farms in Watseka IL. It was an absolutely perfect summer evening on a beautiful farm.
In addition to Marty and Crystal’s actual parents, several of their extended-farm family members (farm mentors) and childhood friends (their musical family) were in attendance along with other fabulous guests. These guests included new friends who are beginning farmers that have, like the Grays, benefited from Farm Beginnings programs! (there are several excellent programs in the state, if you want in on the action google ‘arm beginnings Illinois’ to find a program near you!). We also got to learn about the Kankakee and Watseka farmers markets from organizers and vendors serving those venues. Moving the IOGA festival around the state has been a great way to connect with different pockets of our Illinois organic community. The farm tour was wonderful – you know the crops looked great and the farm was immaculate. A highlight for me was Marty’s enthusiasm for the new lives the old buildings are experiencing as the farm enterprise grows. After a wonderful meal we were treated to music provided by the Gray family, Crystal, Aya and Marty, (Aya brought down the hose)
and the flood of unbelievably talented friends (Steve Swigart, Stacy Beam, Mike Speiser, Ross Williamson and Darren Grigsby)
Thanks so much to U of I’s Agroecology and Sustainable Ag program and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (IOGA coordinator Lindsay Miller!) for making this Illinois Organic Growers Association festival possible. If you did miss it, again I am sorry for you, you might plan on participating in the IOGA crop cycle tour Sept 10!