The Liberty Prairie Foundation supports educational programming at the Prairie Crossing Farm to educate and inspire people to value healthy food, land and community.
We provide leadership and financial support for local food system development, social entrepreneurship, land conservation, environmental education, and civic engagement.
Join us for educational events at the Prairie Crossing Farm.
Liberty Prairie Foundation Receives Farm Aid Grant           
Willie Nelson, Farm Aid Founder and President, signs grant letters and checks. Photo courtesy of Farm Aid.
The Liberty Prairie Foundation is thrilled to receive a grant from Farm Aid to support our Farm Business Development Center
Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food.

For 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $48 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

We appreciate this grant award to support our work to prepare beginning farmers to meet the demand for locally-grown organic food in the Chicago region. Click here to read the Farm Aid press release about their 2015 grant awards. We also enjoyed engaging with enthusiastic Farm Aid concertgoers this summer in the Farm Aid HOMEGROWN Village.
Support Gleaning Program
Volunteers in the Liberty Prairie Foundation's gleaning program harvest produce to be donated to local food pantries.

Led by Liberty Prairie Foundation interns, this summer over 50 volunteers harvested 5,100 pounds of fresh produce through our gleaning program. An ancient concept,  gleaning is the practice of harvesting edible food left in farmers' fields that would not otherwise be harvested. Thank you to Sandhill Family Farms and our volunteers!

During this season of giving, support this important and impactful program! Your donation will help the Liberty Prairie Foundation hire interns to lead the program and support transportation costs to deliver the vegetables to local food pantries.

Need a gift for the person who has everything? Make a donation in their name and we'll provide a certificate to present that shares the impact of your gift. 
Your support is truly appreciated and will help provide fresh, healthy vegetables to our hungry friends and neighbors. Please contact with questions or to receive a gift certificate. 

Transitioning to Organic Grains
8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wed., Jan. 13 in Woodstock          
Help meet the demand for organic and non-GMO grains! Join The Land Connection for their Transitioning to Organic Grains workshop from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wed., Jan. 13 at Dorr Township Hall in Woodstock.   
Farmers who have already successfully and profitably transitioned to organic grains will give practical presentations on key topics including selecting alternative grain crops, planning for soil fertility and weed management, navigating the organic certification process, and finding buyers.
The registration fee is $40 for individuals and $20 for additional people from the same family or farm. Lunch is included.     

Prairie Farm Corps "Giving Tree"
Visit the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum in December and vote for the Prairie Farm Corps in the museum's third annual "Grayslake Giving Trees" exhibit!

Non-profit and community organizations were invited to decorate trees for the exhibit and YOU are invited to vote for your favorites with your dollars!

Proceeds will be split between participating groups and the Grayslake Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and sharing the history of the greater Grayslake area. The winning organization will keep 100% of the proceeds collected for its tree and will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

The Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum is open from 12 - 4 p.m. Wed. - Fri. and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sat. Visit their holiday open house from 12 - 4 p.m. Sun., Dec. 13 with Mr. and Mrs. Claus from 2 - 4 p.m. Click here for information about the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum.
Visit the museum and vote for the Prairie Farm Corps until Dec. 30. We appreciate your support of our youth development program!
Be a Better Farm Boss Workshop
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wed. Feb. 17 at the U of I Extension Office          
Whether you manage one seasonal worker or a large year-round crew, good management can make the difference between making headway on your farm's work or just creating headaches.
Join veteran farmer and educator Chris Blanchard to learn how to create a productive, positive work environment by communicating clear expectations and implementing systems for efficiency and accountability.

The Be a Better Farm Boss workshop will be held at the University of Illinois Extension Office in Grayslake. The registration fee is $40 per person and $20 per person for additional people from the same family or farm. Lunch is included.

Food Safety is Good Business Workshop
Thurs., Feb. 4 at the Byron Colby Barn              
Prepare your farm business for success with the guidance of one of the region's foremost experts.
Organic farmer, author, and consultant Atina Diffley leads this all-day workshop that helps farmers tackle issues of food safety, sorting and packing, marketing, and post-harvest handling. 

Atina Diffley wrote the 2012 award wining memoir, Turn Here Sweetcorn, Organic Farming Works. She draws on her decades of experience in vegetable production and marketing to provide operators of produce farms of any size with useful, practical, profit-making guidance on how to achieve the highest quality produce for sale.
Stay tuned for additional workshop details and registration information. 

WIC Program Expands to Waukegan                               
By Kate Abram, Outreach Intern
For the past 3 years, the Prairie Farm Corps has operated a WIC vegetable distribution program in Round Lake.
WIC, the federal, education-based nutrition and food aid program named for its three target groups (women, infants, and children) implemented the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) in the mid-1990s as a national initiative to increase WIC participants' access to fresh, local produce.
During the summer, Prairie Farm Corps crew members and a crew leader present weekly at the Round Lake WIC site and exchange FMNP vouchers for boxes of seasonal produce they have grown. This direct on-site exchange radically increases voucher redemption rates, as it removes barriers such as lack of access to farmers' markets, which are often not located in low-income communities and operate in limited hours that require a flexible work schedule.
This summer a second distribution site was added in Waukegan with additional programming. Though the Prairie Farm Corps continued to provide the vegetable boxes, the Waukegan programming was run by the Local Food Systems Outreach interns, Kate Abram and Grace Borg.
Working with WIC nutritionists and translators, the outreach interns developed a 20 minute lesson that incorporated nutrition and cooking. They facilitated conversation amongst class participants, creating cross-cultural dialogue about cooking and eating vegetables. A sample recipe was prepared and distributed to demonstrate ways in which healthy food can be both inexpensive and delicious.
Partway through the summer, a new program component was added. In addition to their vegetables, each family received a green onion seedling to take home and grow. Beyond the impact of this single seedling, curriculum was created about the benefits of growing one's own produce, including cost-effectiveness, and a discussion of window and balcony growing geared towards low-income families.
Not only does this programming component increase the potential for long-term, positive impact of the WIC lesson, but it was also very popular amongst the young children who attend WIC classes with their parents! Many paid close attention to the care instructions and eagerly stepped up to carry their seedling out of the classroom at the end of the lesson.
In a large, governmental organization like WIC that mainly focuses on educating the purchasers for the household, the seedling program seems to have great potential in increasing the engagement and understanding of the young children whose good health is ultimately the goal of the organization.
With the two sites in Round Lake and Waukegan, the Liberty Prairie Foundation donated three times the amount of produce than in past years - approximately 1,015 pounds worth an estimated $3,180. This represents an almost 83% increase in value of produce donated and number of families served when compared to the 2014 summer season.
Celebrating this success, the Liberty Prairie Foundation's planning for next summer's WIC programming is already underway, considering how the seedling programming might be expanded, and how all programming can continue to be as enriching and impactful as possible.

Community Garden Plots Available                              

Interest in gardening continues to grow, and the Liberty Prairie Foundation welcomes interested gardeners to build community and grow food at the Prairie Crossing Farm Community Garden.

A number of plots are available for 2016. The rental cost for the 2016 season is $50 for a half-plot (approximately 24' x 11') and $100 for a full-sized plot. (approximately 24' x 22'). The fee helps pay for access to water, compost and wood chips, and the administrative and perimeter maintenance cost.
Email Linda Wiens at for additional information.

Prairie Farm Corps Reflections                        
Over the next few months, we invite you to read reflections from Prairie Farm Corps members about the impact this youth development program had on them this summer.

Here's what Alex, age 16, shared about his Prairie Farm Corps experience:

Before the Prairie Farm Corps I honestly could care less about what I was eating and putting into my body. I never bothered to check nutrition facts or to see if the product was organic or not. Not only are the vegetables and fruits healthier, they taste so much better, especially if you grew them yourself.
I will always remember this program and the people. We had many laughs, many serious conversations and I got to know each and every one of the members and leaders, so much to where I consider them all a giant second family.

Stay tuned for more Prairie Farm Corps reflections!

About the Prairie Crossing Farm      

The Prairie Crossing Farm is a working organic farm nestled inside the Prairie Crossing community in Grayslake, Illinois. The Prairie Crossing Farm is owned by the Liberty Prairie Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


The Foundation operates a variety of programs at the Prairie Crossing Farm to advance our mission. The Farm Business Development Center, an incubator program, prepares beginning farmers to meet the demand for locally-grown organic food in the Chicago region. The independently-owned Prairie Crossing Farm businesses serve customers throughout the Chicago region.


The 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. Educational programming includes the Prairie Farm Corps youth development program, seasonal events, and more.
32400 North Harris Road
Grayslake, IL 60030