……..And we are off!!! This is after the longest winter ever. We had freezing temperatures all the way until mid April. I can’t tell you how happy I am that the sun is shining and there is finally color on the ground.
Not all was doom and gloom this winter. I am very excited to announce that Hendrick House Farm is moving to 10 acres located west of Champaign starting next year. We couldn’t be more excited, although we will be sad leaving our U of I friends. We are slowly starting the transition this year and have started working with a Unit 4 school teacher, by the name of Julie, on a one acre educational plot for students. This piece of land is just south of where we will be farming in the future. The land around our new farm is run by an old high school friend of mine. Everyone is likeminded in the sense that we want to be good stewards to the land and it is a incredibly happy, peaceful environment!
Despite the long winter I have been keeping busy with planning 2018, attending conferences and even hosting our first workshop with Urbana High School and Edison Middle School. It was a great success and we got a lot of work done on the educational plots despite the sub zero temperatures! The kids were freezing, wrapped in multiple blankets but were still able to have fun, play with the chickens and get the garden ready to plant.
In addition to Illinois Speciality Crops Conference that I attend every year, I also went to MOSES and Our Farms Our Future Conference. MOSES is the largest organic conference in the country located in the beautiful city of LaCrosse, Wi. Although a little intimidating, I was able to attend informative lectures and acquire amazing resources to help in increasing our sustainability efforts in the future. The Our Farms Our Future Conference was my favorite of the year. It was hosted by SARE and I was there with other SARE grant awardees presenting our grants. The conference was full of Extension Educators (my favorite people) from all over the country. I love Extension Educators because they are an endless resource always helping local farmers. It’s very important to research and network in the off season so you learn from mistakes the previous year and develop a support system to help you in the future!!