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Save Farmland: Visit An Illinois Farm

Save Farmland: Visit An Illinois Farm

Over the past several weeks, I have been writing about agri tourism destinations throughout the United States. These are farms that offer on-farm fun for visitors of all ages. I have been leading virtual visits to states that readers have requested via comments.

This week, we “visit” Illinois. Illinois might be known as a producer of corns and soybeans, but it also leads in the production of pumpkins and horseradish. The state has over 75,000 farms, with 85 percent of these being owned by individuals or families (USDA).

There are farms all across the state that are open to the public, and a good starting point is the Illinois Farm Direct Farmer to Consumer Directory created by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is a direct-to-consumer site that helps you find fresh, locally grown food and lists 600 growers and processors and 200 farmers markets that sell directly to consumers.

Not only can you search by commodity or zip code, but you can also learn about local foods and get some tips on what to look for when you shop directly at a farm.

The site also features information and links to the Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois, so you can keep up-to-date on the sustainable food movement in Illinois.

Another site that lists agri tourism destinations, comes from the Illinois  Agriculture and Tourism Partners of Illinois, and is called Ag Fun. It lists attractions by region and even includes those close to Chicago in a section called Chicagoland. The activities found on the site include fruit orchards, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, agricultural museums, markets, wineries, breweries, inns, and even elk farms.

You can even follow Ag Fun on Twitter.

Perhaps one of the state’s most famous farmers is Farmer John Peterson of Angelic Organics, a biodynamic CSA. He is the eccentric and entertaining farmer from the film, The Real Dirt on Farmer John and Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt.

And as I always mention, Local Harvest is another great resource for finding farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, and other sources of farm fresh food. There are about 340 farm listings for Illinois on Local Harvest.

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Nature, Outdoor Activities, , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


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10:27AM PST on Dec 16, 2010

Thanks for the article. Small Farmers need and deserve maximum support as they are our hope for safe food now and in the future.

Make a difference, plant a tree.

9:18PM PDT on Aug 24, 2010

I'D love Too !!

9:08PM PDT on Aug 22, 2010

Thanks for presenting the links and lists.

11:00AM PDT on Aug 21, 2010

I grew up by farmland in Illinois that has now been lost because of the growing population. A lot of farmland has been replaced by homes,strip malls and shopping centers! I didn't realize that so many farms were left in Illinois. I'm going to start buying from them instead of grocery stores.

12:07PM PDT on Aug 20, 2010

I love being on a farm.

7:39PM PDT on Aug 19, 2010

I agree with Janice P.; I'm very much enjoying your series on agriculture also, Judy. This one is particularly relevant to me bc we are in the process of moving to Illinois soon. Having grown up on a family farm myself, I often long for that seemingly uncomplicated time of my youth. There's nothing more awesome than a field of tall corn rustling softly in a breeze! Soybean fields look great too as long as you're not the one who had to be out walking & weeding. Love the memories though....

12:49AM PDT on Aug 19, 2010


10:56PM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

Thank you for sharing this information. I live in Illinis and am proud to live close to farmers that participate in this program. It is a great thing

8:37AM PDT on Aug 18, 2010

Thanks for these informative articles on farmers throughout the country.

11:32PM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Hope lots of people get involved with this

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