Welcome to Angelic Organics Learning Center’s monthly E-Newsletter, where we update you on the latest happenings at the Learning Center, and connect you with opportunities to get involved.
Rockford friends, please join us and our Rockford partners today for a Fall Harvest Celebration
to commemorate the first year of our successful South West Rockford Community Garden Cooperative Partnership. The partnership has resulted in five new gardens and had engaged over 100 youth in over 500 hours of community service. Join us tomorrow for a Chili “Cook-Off”, a pumpkin carving event, music, fall refreshments, and more!
Angelic Organics Learning Center
Upcoming Events to Learn, Grow, and Connect
Image: Farm Dreams, CRAFT and Stateline Farm Beginnings® are AOLC inititives to assist beginning and future farmers
In this special series for preschoolers and their caregivers, we’ll interact with and learn about the important animals on the farm including goats, chickens and horses.
Fresh from the Field
On-Farm Educator shares his passion for environmental sustainability and food
Randy Mermel has always been passionate about environmental sustainability and teaching others. His career has included establishing an The Dome Environmental Education & Gathering Center, and conducting research for the U.S. Forest Service. For the past four years, Randy has served as a Learning Center On-Farm Educator, leading classes on topics ranging from walking tours to sustainable building to cooking, and helping people to learn more about where their food comes from.
“My passion is connecting people with nature and each other,” Randy says. “Through the Learning Center, I get to work with all types of people, of all backgrounds. I love inspiring people to be a part of a local, clean sustainable food system.”
Randy says that some of the most meaningful experiences come from kids’ reactions to what they learn on the farm. “It’s great when we get to sample vegetables straight from the fields. They’ll say, I don’t like broccoli, but I love this! Or, this is the best salad I’ve ever had!”
Kids are also surprised by the soil test that is part of many of the Learning Center’s food-related workshops. Youth learn about nutrients present in the soil and conduct a test that compares the farm’s organic soil with soil from an adjoining conventional field.
“When we ask which field they’d like their food to come from, they overwhelmingly choose the organic soil,” Randy says. “They can see that it’s very much alive with worms and nutrients. They begin to connect with where their food comes from and see that it’s all part of a larger ecological system.”
Randy is also an expert in sustainable building, and worked with volunteers to build Learning Center’s Earth Cob Oven. Cob is a mixture of clay, sand and straw, and one of the oldest building materials. The oven is now used by Learning Center groups to bake artisan breads and pizzas.
A Tribute to Ms. Juanita Chickie
Deb Crockett, Senior Director of Programs
We said goodbye this week to one of our colleagues. Miss Juanita Chickie was a nine-year old Araucana chicken, and a fine host indeed for our education programs.
She was raised by young Adam, who carried her pretty much continuously when she was a spring chicken. Thanks to his attentiveness and care, Miss Juanita was by far and away our most amenable chicken to handling. Nary a squawk if a first-time chicken holder would lift her from the ground.>>Read More
The Learning Center made a big impact in 2009! Learn more in our new Annual Report.