Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting a demonstration garden at the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Michael Biehl gave me a tour of the plants in their exhibit, and though it is still early spring, they are numerous and vibrant. This demonstration garden is not just any old collection of pretty plants, it is unique among the gardens that line Lincoln Avenue at the U of I campus, it contains POISONOUS plants!
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Mallory Krieger's blog
The 2016-17 Central Illinois Farm Beginnings class has concluded their classroom sessions! Congratulations to our students who made it through 63 hours of rigorous learning on topics ranging from enterprise budgets to legal liability management to whole farm planning. Starting in October, our students traveled from up to three hours away to learn from fellow farmers and industry experts. It was such a pleasure to get to know the students, help guide them through writing their business plans, and listen to the evolution of their ideas in their final presentations.
Excitement fills the air! Farmers are gathering from across the region to discuss organic grains and how we grow this industry. I, personally, am brimming with anticipation of meeting the amazing farmers who are dedicated to growing organic grains in Illinois and Indiana. It takes a special person to commit to transitioning to organic production. It can be a lonely and confusing endeavor.
I am so pleased that the days are beginning to lengthen, the sun rising ever so marginally earlier and setting slightly later. It is breathing life into these wintery days. Even though the days are short in light, they are most definitely long in activity! For, my friends, it is now full-on workshop and conference season!!
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Acres USA conference in Omaha, NE. It was a great trip! I love long drives, and the 8 hours from Champaign to Omaha was perfect!
When I left the house this morning, I exhaled in the last rays of moonlight and gazed as the mist of my breath dissipated in the gentle breeze. I was cold and grateful. I was grateful that I had everything I need to survive the morning in that frigid air. I had a full belly of the morning's breakfast. I was well hydrated. I was breathing the oxygen rich morning air. And, I was clothed in the heavy winter sweater I recently pulled from summer storage. The organism of my body was supported.
This is my first blog entry at TLC and I have grain on the mind. One of my first large tasks as the Farmer Training Program Manager has been to finalize the planning of our upcoming workshop on organic grain marketing. It has my head swimming with memories of my childhood riding in my dad's combine and running through the corn stubbled fields of central Ohio. To this day, the smell of soybean dust is a close second favorite to the smell of tractor grease.