The Land Connection facilitates the full-year farmer training course, Central IL Farm Beginnings. An important component of the course is a mentorship with an experienced farmer. Today we are profiling Ron and Angie Ackerman, who mentored Gail Record (read more about Gail here!), and who were winners of the 2013 R. J. Vollmer Award for Sustainable Agriculture at the Illinois State Fair. Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Agriculture awarded Ron and Angie Ackerman with the 213 R. J. Vollmer Award for Sustainable Agriculture at the Illinois State Fair. As organic farmers, Ron and Angie Ackerman grow a wide variety of certified organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains on the same small central Illinois farm where Ron grew up.
"I was a missionary in Vietnam for three years and came back with my new wife and a desire to farm,” says Ron. Angie didn’t grow up on a farm, but took to it with enthusiasm, according to Ron. At first she just wanted to grow the herbs she was used to using in her home country, but she then began growing other produce that was popular at area farmers’ markets.