I’ve been with The Land Connection for a short time, but as of the beginning of July, I’m moving on from my position as the Program Director. It is an exciting time for me as I transition to this next step, but also a time for reflection and gratitude of all that I’ve gained by being a part of The Land Connection family.
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Cassie Carroll's blog
I get excited each year when the weather gets warm to jump out in my garden and start planting all the things: vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, annuals, and perennials. For the first time this year, I planted lettuce, radishes, sugar snap peas and beets out in the garden early this year, and everything is already getting so big! My peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and so much more are still in the safety of my home, even though it might be time to plant some of them outside, but a good hardening off is in order.
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Farm Beginnings Collaborative meeting last week in Portland. Maine with our Executive Director, Cara Cummings. Farm Beginnings Collaborative is the national alliance of regional groups who are offering Farm Beginnings programs. The Collaborative is growing and now includes ten organizations with programs serving beginning farmers in 13 states. The Land Connection was one of the founding organizations of this collaborative back in 2004.
All of this unseasonable, 70 degree weather has me thinking of spring and farmers’ market season. While going outside and planting seeds in all my garden beds already might not be the smartest thing to do, I am surely dreaming of the delicious seasonal produce coming in the year ahead. One of the main things I’m thinking about is which CSA (community supported agriculture) share I will invest in this year.
Oh grants - I know grant applications are intimidating, especially if you've never written one before. We all hear the horrors of lengthy applications, multiple forms, unclear directions, etc.... but if you have an idea, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare your idea for a grant application, no matter the format or specific opportunity instructions.
I can’t believe we’re winding down another year, can you? Time just flies when you’re eating lots of amazing local food and artisan goods throughout the year.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what a better time to reflect on how thankful we all are for our farmers, putting in long hours, hard labor, and their resources to give us amazing and delicious food. It's important to remember our farmers and be thankful for all they do to reduce food insecurity, but let's take it another step this year by actually supporting our farmers this season and purchasing ingredients for the big feast locally.
Learning how to preserve your harvest is one of the most rewarding triumphs of growing your own food and/or supporting local farmers. Whether you preserve through canning, freezing, dry storage, dehydrating or placing items in the fridge, there's a preserving method that will fit your fancy. As we start to move into the fall and winter months, and are approaching the end of farmers market season, it is important to know how to savor this year's harvest all winter long.
There's a new event on the block - the Artisan Cup & Fork - downstate Illinois' premiere food competition. The tagline, "Life is too short to drink bad booze and eat bad food" is the perfect way to describe this unique culinary experience. The event highlights 8 farm to table chefs, 16 family-owned farmers, and only one team will come out on top as the winner.
I, for one, know how a busy week can quickly run away from you. Next thing you know - BLINK! It's Sunday again. You ask yourself, " I had SO many plans... what happened to the week?" That's me. If I'm not focused on the few things outside of work that I want to get done during the week, it just doesn't happen between kickball, glass blowing, yoga, tending to the garden..... and the list can go on.