This past Saturday the temperature reached nearly 70 degrees. It was our last Central Illinois Farm Beginnings session for the 2015/16 class, and we enjoyed our lunch (prepared with ingredients from local farms) at a long table outside at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, in the sunshine, without our coats on, in February. There is no denying the smiles on our faces and the excitement about the onset of an early spring.
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As I’m sure many of you know by now, The Land Connection was given the opportunity to be a guest instagrammer on the Farmers’ Market Coalition’s account for the past two weeks. It was quite the privilege to be able to share our market’s story with such a large audience, and get feedback and support from around the country.
Writing a blog like this is a privilege for so many reasons. One reason is that I get to be expressive in a way that neither scientists nor journalists are able to. So let me tell you this: there is a new study out from Iowa State University that is kind of blowing my mind.
As the executive director of The Land Connection I do a lot of different things like writing grants and reports, developing our budget, working with our great team on programming, and going to a lot of meetings. So when I get caught up in the day to day operations, the things that are not always super inspiring, I go back and read our mission statement.
“Land is our partner, not our servant.” –Dave Bishop, PrairiErth Farm
This simple phrase, tucked into a presentation to our Farm Beginnings students a few weeks ago, could well serve as the foundation of our efforts to reform how we grow food.
Ah, the holidays. Chestnuts, crackling fireplaces, big meals and tasty treats with family and friends. And even though this year was a tad unusual (kids playing outside in the sun instead of rolling out snow angels, the feeling of the holiday season is always in the air.
But with that feeling comes the anticipation of what follows immediately afterwards - a brand new year.
Buttered Radishes and Polenta
There are a lot ways to continue eating locally grown foods in the winter in the Midwest--you can even make a beautiful, brightly colored meal in January. Cornmeal can be prepared by boiling it in water to make either a soft or firm polenta dish. I personally love to make a firm polenta and then to top it with buttered vegetables.
1 Cup corn meal
4 Cups water
1 Teaspoon salt