Plowing Ahead - December 29, 2015

Distributing the Fruits of Labor

How do small-scale farmers get products from their fields to our plates? Local farmers talk about their involvements in farmers’ markets, food tours, and other areas of distribution.

Jeff Hake of the Land Connection in Champaign, Lorien Carsey of Blue Moon Farm in Urbana, Traci Barkley of Sola Gratia Farm in Urbana, Nicole Bridges of Prosperity Gardens in Champaign and Wes Jarrell of Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in Champaign talk about how local farmers and their products reach and impact the community. Diverse interfaces including farmers’ markets, CSAs, food tours, and donations facilitate food distribution.

Plowing Ahead - December 29, 2015

A Taste of Sustainability

How are local farms becoming more sustainable? Local citizens involved in farming describe the facets of their visions of sustainable farming.

Residents of central Illinois describe important aspects of building sustainable food systems. Lorien Carsey manages the organic Blue Moon Farm in Urbana; Shea Belahi owns Heirloominous Farm in Urbana; Cara Cummings is a director of the Land Connection in Champaign; Kevin Wolz is a PhD student studying agriculture and ecology at the University of Illinois; and Alisa DeMarco is a professional chef with Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in Champaign.

Plowing Ahead - December 29, 2015

Midwestern Traditions

How is conventional farming practiced in east central Illinois? The corn-and-soybeans farming that monopolizes our landscape has been transformed by GPS, drones, and other cutting-edge technologies.

Dale Stierwalt and Linden Warfel, long-time farmers of row crops in central Illinois, discuss conventional farming practices and how they have evolved over time including the introduction of technologies such as GPS, drones, and infrared cameras, all of which have revolutionized farming.

Plowing Ahead - December 29, 2015

A Labor of Love

Why do people become farmers? Insights as to how some inherit this trade, while others are attracted to the land or inspired to make an impact.

Cathe Capel, owner of Seven Sisters’ Farm in Sidney; Peggy Stierwalt of Grey Bird Farm in Tolono; Diann Moore, of Moore Family Farm near Watseka, and Shea Belahi, owner of Heirloominous Farm outside Urbana, explain their decisions to became farmers and what appealed to them about life on the land. Terra Brockman, who founded the Land Connection, an organization which helps educate new, organic farmers, talks about a farmer’s beginnings and food accessibility.

Plowing Ahead - December 29, 2015

Putting Down Roots

How has farming developed over time in east central Illinois? A look at how the occupation has developed over the years.

Terra Brockman and Linden Warfel, who have had family farms in Illinois for more than one hundred years; along with Cara Cummings, director of The Land Connection in Champaign; and Lorien Carsey of Blue Moon Farm in Urbana, describe how farming methods have changed over the years and the growing awareness of the effects of farming on the environment. During the nineteenth century, most farming practices were small-scale, without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or mechanized implements. Conventional farming has since morphed into an increasingly industrialized process.

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