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Learning the Ins and Outs of an Organic Farm

Go Green Wilmette visits a facility in North Chicago.

A small contingent of Go Green Wilmette members went on a field trip on August 18, 2011 to an open house at the Green Youth Farm in North Chicago, one of three youth farms run by the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Here the students learn how to grow, harvest and sell the produce on the farm, as well as how to cook and eat food with fresh ingredients.

Green Youth Farm is a program that offers students (who are paid a stipend) the opportunity to learn all aspects of organic farming — from planting seeds and starts to managing a hive of bees, from cooking with the food they grow to selling it at farmstands and markets (and to the Garden Café, where the chef incorporates the fresh organic produce into many menu items available to Chicago Botanic Garden visitors).

Earlier: .

Our group observed the results of this program as Terrence Fayne, who has participated in the program for two years, guided us through the more than one -acre farm bursting with organic produce. He was a great spokesman for the program as he explained his opportunity to learn leadership and communicative skills as he learned to appreciate the value of organic produce.

During lunch, which incorporated the produce from the fields, we spoke with Kevin Erickson who heads the program for the Chicago Botanic Gardens. He shared some of the amazing growth he has observed in the program participants in terms of their learning to follow rules, communicate effectively and improved social interactions including expanding informal Ultimate Frisbee games into developing teams at their local high schools. We were impressed with all of our experiences there. For recipes and information: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/greenyouthfarm/recipes.php

GGW also became aware of a new farm stand where some sustainable produce is available all day, all week. If you aren’t able to get to the , it is great to know about Chalet’s new farm stand, which bring fresh produces in from two of the farms they own in Wisconsin.

GGW will be at the Wilmette Farmer’s Market on August 27, from 8:00am to 1:00pm and produce bags will once again be offered if you sign up for the online GGW newsletter.

Stay tuned to Patch for more on green living. Join the environmentalism discussion on Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch's Facebook page.

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