The Liberty Prairie Foundation supports educational programming at the Prairie Crossing Farm to educate and inspire people to value healthy food, land and community through experiences on our farm.

 

The Liberty Prairie Foundation provides leadership and financial support for local food system development, social entrepreneurship, land conservation, environmental education, and civic engagement.   

 

We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!
Leadership Development
       

The Liberty Prairie Foundation hired outstanding interns for the 2014 summer season, through a nationwide recruiting process. Each month we will profile several of these young adults here. 

 

Alisha Bower is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Political Science and Spanish and a minor in Sustainability. Alisha intends to pursue a career in sustainable agricultural and food policy work and will begin a Masters of International Public Affairs this fall at UW Madison. She is enjoying gaining experience in the administration of sustainable agriculture education programs with the Liberty Prairie Foundation and combining her passion for the Spanish language, social justice, and food through the Beacon Place project (see below).

 

Lexie Raczka is a senior at Dickinson College (PA) studying Environmental Science, with a focus on Sustainable Food Systems, and Studio Art. She is particularly interested in the social, environmental, and economic issues of food accessibility, especially food that is sustainably and locally produced, and is enjoying working firsthand with these issues at the Liberty Prairie Foundation. Lexie hopes to pursue a graduate degree related to sustainable food systems and ultimately work to help eliminate food deserts.

Prairie Farm Corps Grows Vegetables for Waukegan Food Desert

By Lexie Raczka

 

The Prairie Farm Corps has experienced growth in different forms - more students, increased land in production, and in the people who receive the produce. As a part of our Waukegan Local Food Project we have partnered with Beacon Place, an organization serving families in Waukegan, and are operating a produce stand for women involved in their program.

 

Beacon Place is located in a neighborhood with little access to healthy food. We bring healthy, fresh, and locally grown produce to Beacon Place, making it is accessible to all women in the program. Each week the women pay a deeply discounted amount for a grocery bag full of 4-5 different types of seasonal produce.

 

The women have shared great appreciation for the produce and are enjoying new vegetables and herbs, such as fennel or dill, that are not readily available in nearby stores. While we have distributed recipes that highlight each week's produce, the women's personal ingenuity has resulted in far more creative dishes, such as stovetop chicken and vegetable lasagna.

 

An added benefit of this partnership is the sharing of language skills. Over the course of the summer many of the women, who are not native English speakers, are gaining more confidence to have conversations in English. In addition, we are able to improve our Spanish skills and learn the regional vocabulary for so many different types of produce. The Liberty Prairie Foundation and Beacon Place have a symbiosis, a relationship that is integral in any successful partnership.

Prairie Farm Corps Gardens       
  

By Alisha Bower

 

The Prairie Farm Corps has expanded from a Monday - Thursday program to include Fridays and has added new components to compliment the cooking and farming activities, including personal garden plots for each student. The space is small, only about one yard by two yards, but within that space students were given free reign to plant any kind of vegetables they wanted to tend and take home to their families throughout the summer.

 

This spring, lists of all the available seedlings were sent home with the students. There, they consulted with their parents to decide what they wanted to grow this summer. Some were ambitious, filling their plot to the brim with hot peppers, tomatoes, flowers, cucumbers and herbs, while others took a more cautious approach selecting only a couple of plants.

 

The Liberty Prairie Foundation reached out to the Prairie Crossing community to secure donations of tomato cages and hoses. Due to this generous support the students' plots are looking great, and they are ready to see the fruits (and vegetables!) that ripen under their own unfettered direction - while applying the skills they are learning in the Prairie Farm Corps. Thank you for your generous donations!

Prairie Farm Corps at Libertyville Farmers Market
                    

Visit the Prairie Farm Corps at the Libertyville Farmers Market on Thursdays from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. to purchase certified organic vegetables. Vegetables available this week include cucumbers, fennel, arugula, basil, chard, salad mix, carrots, beets, and more.

 

Participants in this program are involved in all aspects of a sustainable agriculture business from seed to market. The Prairie Farm Corps, which provides leadership and youth development for college-aged interns and a diverse crew of high school students.

 

In addition to the Libertyville Farmers Market and Beacon Place, the Prairie Farm Corps also grows vegetables for the Women, Infant & Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program in Round Lake. Stay tuned for more about this distribution site that connects under-resourced families with fresh, healthy vegetables. 

 

Thank you to the generous sponsors of the Prairie Farm Corps: the Morrison Family Foundation, Roy G. Kerr Foundation, Liberty Prairie Foundation, Vermont Compost, individual donors, plus a special donation in memory of Clifford Carlberg. Your support has truly made a difference in the lives of the youth participants, and has helped the larger community with increased access to fresh, healthy vegetables.  

Ground Operations - Battlefields to Farming     
  

Join Growing Healthy People from 4 - 6 p.m. on Sun., July 20 at the Prairie Crossing Charter School, 1531 Jones Point Road in Grayslake. Prior to the film screening, participate in a free tour of the Prairie Crossing Farm from 3 - 4 p.m. 

 

Enjoy Ground Operations - Battlefields to Farming, an award-winning documentary with the filmmaker and producer, share ideas, and more. Admission is free, but donations for Growing Healthy People are appreciated. Click here for information and online reservations.

 

Growing Healthy People is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to grow healthy people through work with veterans and others providing locally grown fruits and vegetables, education on nutrition and small scale agriculture, and job tracks in local food production. Click here to read a recent article on Growing Healthy People in Organic Gardening.

 

Attendees who will be participating in the 3 p.m. free tour of the Prairie Crossing Farm should meet at the Prairie Crossing Charter School to check in, then proceed to the nearby Prairie Crossing Farm.

Gleaning at the Prairie Crossing Farm - Aug. 17       
  

Do you want a meaningful volunteer experience? Come "glean" from 2 - 4:30 p.m. on Sun., Aug. 17 at the Prairie Crossing Farm!     

 

Volunteers will harvest produce from Sandhill Family Farms that otherwise would not be harvested. These healthy fresh vegetables will be delivered to the COOL Food Pantry for distribution to their clients. Gleaning is a great way to volunteer and know you're making a difference in your community!

 

Want to volunteer? Advance registration is required - email lexie@libertyprairie.org.
Sustainable Farming Tour at Casey Farm - Aug. 30       
  

Conserve Lake County is partnering with the Liberty Prairie Foundation and Radical Root Farm to offer the first annual Sustainable Farming Tour at Casey Farm from 10 - 11:30 a.m. on Sat., Aug. 30. Click here for information and registration. Just a few spots remain - advance registration is required!  

 

Radical Root Farm is an alumni of the Liberty Prairie Foundation's Farm Business Development Center, and has transitioned to the centennial Casey Farm in Libertyville through a unique partnership between Conserve Lake County, the Lake County Forest Preserve District, and the Liberty Prairie Foundation.

 

Radical Root operates an on-farm market from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturdays at Casey Farm. Click here to read a recent article on Radical Root's farm stand. 

 

Register for the Sustainable Farming Tour and/or visit Radical Root's farm stand on Saturdays through October. We're "growing" new farm businesses to meet the demand for sustainable, local food in the region. Support your local farmers!
Free Tours for Underserved Youth

               

The Liberty Prairie Foundation offers farm-based educational tours to complement classroom curriculum and demonstrate organic principles in action. We welcome pre-arranged tour groups during May - October by appointment only. Tours are available Monday - Friday between 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. for groups of 10-25 participants from kindergarten to adult. Click here for information about our tour program.

 

We recognize that tour prices may be cost-prohibitive for some groups of underserved youth, and have a limited source of funding to provide free/discounted tours for groups that meet certain requirements. This summer, we have provided free tours to approximately 100 children, 60-100% who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and would not otherwise been able to participate in this educational programming.

 

Free tours are also offered to the general public as part of our spring Organic Plant Sale & Farm Open House, and upcoming Farm Ridge Hike with Jeff Miller from Sandhill Family Farms (registration full). We will soon launch a web-based tour for those not able to come to the Prairie Crossing Farm who want to visit virtually. 

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Prairie Crossing Farm
www.libertyprairie.org, 847-548-4062
32400 North Harris Road
Grayslake, IL 60030

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