The beautiful way to save energy.
Summer ‘10 publication
CREATING THE FUTURE FOR THE KANKAKEE RIVER VALLEY
Sponsored by Kankakee Community
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A Cornucopia of Local Flora and Fauna
With the advent of spring and summer in Kankakee County comes the opportunity to begin to enjoy the ﬂowers
and fresh vegetables and other produce grown locally. Our reliance on produce from the super market can be at least
partially replaced with that available at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. Instead of the bland, out of season, picked
too early and transported long distances, fruits and vegetables we’ve been eating through the winter, we can now
have fresh, ripe and locally grown produce. Of course it tastes much better, but according to organizations like Family
Farmed and Illinois Farm Direct, there are other reasons that make buying and eating locally grown food a good choice
• It’s more nutritious. Studies have shown that the nutrient levels of food are highest closer to their harvest time.
Local foods can be picked closer to their peak and are 3-10 days fresher than those shipped in from a distance.
• It’s better for the environment. Since the 1970’s, research has documented the large energy demands
associated with packaging and transporting foods from distant states and
countries. Think about how much fuel was consumed by the truck or plane that
transported those out of season tomatoes from California or South America to
your local supermarket. What’s the carbon footprint of that?
• It makes economic sense both nationally and locally. In Illinois, con
sidered by most to be an agricultural state, 95% of the food we eat is imported
from outside our borders. The majority of the $48 billion spent annually on food
leaves the state even though the state’s soils and agricultural heritage would
allow us to grow most of what we purchase here. Buying local food supports
the local farm economy. This builds the regional economy by creating demand for supplies and services from other
regional companies which contributes to regional economic development.
• It may be “safer” to decentralize our sources of food. A large national / international food supply system
dependant on long distance transportation of products is more vulnerable to fuel costs increases, unfavorable weather
conditions, massive contamination risks, and even terrorism.
One of the advantages of living in the Kankakee area is that there numerous opportunities to obtain locally grown
food. There is the Farmer’s Market in downtown Kankakee as well as others in the area. There are also roadside stands
which offer direct-from-the-ﬁeld, in season corn, tomatoes and other produce. Residents can also purchase “subscrip
tions” from local growers and in return, receive weekly allotments of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. These
“subscriptions” are called “CSA”- Community Supported Agriculture. Some farmers also offer CSA subscriptions for
farm fresh eggs and / or meat. Just remember, that “In Season” is what CSAs are about – still no tomatoes in May, but
there will be lettuce, spinach and other early vegetables. Patronizing the local market gives us the power to encourage
local growers to produce the foods we want in an environmentally sound manner and to support our local economy.
We have the power to make farming less about price and more about the natural and social communities in which we
live. For more information about the beneﬁts of local foods and to identify local growers and CSAs try these sites: www.
familyfarmed.org or www.illinoisfarmdirect.org.
Gardens in the City
Asbury United Methodist Church - Community Garden
There has been some interest in community gardens in Kankakee throughout the
past couple of years. For the 2010 growing season, one local church has taken the lead
in converting an under-utilized space into an edible landscape that will provide food for
local food pantries and an educational opportunity for their own daycare center. Pastor
Steven Goodin of Asbury United Methodist Church in downtown Kankakee is working
with some of the church members and local volunteers to transform the southeastern
corner of the historic stone structure along Merchant Street into an urban garden. Initial planning and labor is offered by
Alex Panozzo, a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and coordinator for a local foods/sustainable agriculture
grant through KCC; Holly Froning, also a U of I Master Gardener and Extension employee working in the FNP (Family
Nutrition Program) and local food pantries; church members involved are Kathy Bright, Janet & John Sheppard, Martina
Rippon and Bill Cunningham (a church member and ﬁrst-year student enrolled in KCC’s new horticulture program).
This ﬁrst year of the garden will be a more utilitarian design with emphasis on annual crop production and planning
for the long-term which will hopefully include tree fruits and perennial plants such as asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries,
raspberries and blueberries. The group will work on soil improvement and creating raised beds and possibly a green
(pole) bean teepee that the daycare students can enjoy as an outdoor classroom during the summer and fall. The 2010
planning phase also includes extensive soil testing to determine any lead contamination (common in urban plots) and a
design process that will create a landscape that will be as beautiful as it is productive.
An Urban Garden in Kankakee
Through the cooperative efforts of several local organizations, an “urban garden” has
been created near Schuyler and Hickory streets in the City of Kankakee. Using property
donated by a City alderman, members of the Eastside Council, the Community Resource
Center, Brother to Brother and Sister’s Circle have planted a vegetable garden which will in
clude tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers as well as other garden delights. The members
of these partner organizations will nurture and care for the garden. Among the goals of this
project are: to establish a locally grown food source, provide nourishment to economically
disadvantaged individuals in the community, provide a viable option for local restaurants to
purchase local foods, and to provide another source of locally grown produce for purchase
by Kankakee County residents. The vegetables grown will be available for sale at the Kanka
kee Farmer’s Market and a portion will be given to the Center of Hope, a local food pantry located
on the south side of the City.
Van Drunen Farms
The Van Drunen family emigrated from the
Netherlands to South Holland near Chicago
in 1856 and began providing customers with
potatoes, peas, onions, cabbage and car
rots. The family farm responded to an ever
changing market over the years and in the
60’s began selling fresh and frozen chives to
the Chicago market. With the perfection of
freeze-drying technology in the 1970’s, this
became the preferred method of processing
chives for their customers. Today, the family
is committed to providing a full line of the
highest quality fruits, vegetables, and herbs
as ingredients to local, national, and interna
tional food manufacturers.
Van Drunen Farms, located in
Momence, Illinois, is a grower and primary
processor of culinary, all natural, and func
tional food ingredients. The company uses
the ﬁnest seed and cultivation techniques to
raise its crops on 1,200 acres of Kankakee
County farm ground. 500 acres is devoted
to “organic” crops and the remaining 700
acres is used for raising conventional
products. Each product is monitored from
seed, through growth, harvest, process
ing and shipping and is tested against
stringent speciﬁcations to maintain ﬁnest
quality. Van Drunen Farms’ product line
is extensive: including fruits, vegetables,
herbs and other specialty items. They offer
numerous processing options which make
it one of the country’s largest suppliers of
freeze – dried, drum – dried, low moisture
and IQF(individually quick frozen) specialty
products. Van Drunen’s Illinois and California
facilities produce organic herbs, vegetables,
and fruits which have been organically certi
ﬁed by Quality Assurance International since
2003.The company is the largest supplier
of organically grown culinary herbs in the
Van Drunen Farms understands the impor
tance of utilizing “sustainable practices”
in its operations to reduce environmental
impacts. As a way to reduce their disposal
costs, reduce the need for chemical fertil
izers and to capture the nutrient value of
the trimmings from its herb business, Van
Drunen composts or land applies all of its
vegetable waste materials.
The beautiful way
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Local Foods Breakfast 2010
Saturday, June 26th, 2010, 7:30 a.m – 9:30 a.m. the Kankakee
Farmers Market will again host a Local Foods Breakfast in conjunc
tion with A Celebration of Ag --the annual showcase/expo of local
agriculture. In 2009, with the help of the market, the City of Kanka
kee, Kankakee Chamber, KDC and various sponsors, chef Alex
Panozzo and the group worked with Country Table catering to put
together a breakfast of more than 90% locally-grown and sourced foods. The 2009 menu included bis
biscuits and gravy, ham with a cherry glaze, chicken sausage, egg casserole, lamb links, grits & greens,
vendor-baked items and much more. A similar menu is planned for this year with some variation to
feature other local foods, seasonal specialties, producers and food processors. Only 200 tickets ($10
each) will be sold for the event and can be purchased after June 1st at the University of Illinois Exten
sion on Commerce Dr. in Bourbonnais and at the Kankakee Farmers Market on Saturdays in June. Last
year’s event sold out, so get your tickets early!
The Ag Expo Committee is made up of community/organization members from the University
of Illinois Extension, Kankakee County Farm Bureau, Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation
District, Kankakee County Fair Board and WKAN Radio and many other volunteers. It has been
coordinating the county-wide Ag Expo/A Celebration of Ag showcase since the mid- to late-1990’s.
Area Farmer’s Market List
Kankakee Farmer’s Market
Saturdays: 7a.m. to Noon / April 25 – October 16, 2010
Downtown Kankakee, Schuyler and Merchant Avenues at the Gazebo
Information: Bill Yohnka , 815/933-0462, [email protected]
Manhattan Farmer’s Market
Tuesdays: 4p.m. – 7 p.m. / Second Tuesday in June through October
Information: Merrill Marxman, 815/954-9788, [email protected]
Thursdays: 2p.m. – 6 p.m. / June 18 – October 2010
S.E. Corner of Division and Main Streets, Manteno
Information: Merrill Marxman, 815/954-9788, [email protected]
Dwight Main Street Farmer’s Markets
Saturdays: 8 a.m. – 11a.m \ May 22 – October, 2010
East Main Street Parking Lot, Dwight
Information: Janice Lauritzen, 815/584-1830, [email protected]
Pontiac Farmer’s Market
Saturdays: 7 a.m. – sell out / 1st Saturday in June through last Saturday in October
South Side of Courthouse, Pontiac
Information: Beverly Long 815/842-1776; Kathy McLean 815/842-4382
Watseka Farmer’s Market
Saturdays: 7 a.m. – Noon / Early June – 1st Saturday in October
First Trust and Savings Bank parking lot, Watseka
Information: Leon Pﬁngsten, 815/432-4259, [email protected]
Dr. Scott Stewart
KCC’s Director of Horticulture & Agriculture Programs
Kankakee Community College has revived its dormant Agricul
ture program and has established a new Horticulture course of
study. The Ag program provides students with a 64 credit hour
Associate in Science Degree and through an agreement with the
University of Illinois, KCC grads can transfer there to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture. The
new Horticulture program offers a 63 credit hour Associate in Applied Science Degree as well as
a 32 credit hour Advanced Certiﬁcate in Horticulture to its students. Both of these programs are
in response to a generally favorable career outlook in the Ag / Horticultural ﬁeld. This is particularly
true due to growing interest in locally grown foods, sustainable farming practices and environmen
tally friendly landscaping.
Dr. Stewart was born and reared in rural central Illinois, received his B.S in Biology and Chemis
try from Illinois College (Jacksonville, IL.) and went on to earn a Ph.D in Environmental Horticulture
from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL.). He brings experience as a U.S Fish & Wildlife proj
ect manager, a research scientist with a private sector ag-biotech ﬁrm, as well as work as a private
consultant for numerous native plant and plant conservation societies, organizations, and botanical
gardens in Central and South America and the Caribbean. He has published over 60 scientiﬁc and
popular articles and presentations in his area of expertise.
KCC is fortunate to have Scott Stewart as its Director of Horticulture & Agricultural Programs!
Here is his point of view on sustainability, agriculture, and horticulture:
From an early age I developed an appreciation for the balance necessary between human needs
and environmental sustainability. I have been a gardener of one sort or another for as long as I can
remember and come from agricultural roots. My interests in the environment and conservation
biology took off as an undergraduate student when I had opportunities to collaborate with a
number of world leading scientists dealing with some of the rarest and most endangered plants
in the U.S. These interests continued to evolve through graduate school, where I was exposed
to the interactions among humans, agriculture, and the environment through working with the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These experiences have shaped my philosophy of the importance
of sustainable agricultural practices to global sustainability — in our cities, towns, and even in our
own yards. This philosophy is discussed in KCC’s horticulture courses in a variety of manners,
from discussions of integrating food crops into home landscapes to more advanced sustainable
agriculture pursuits such as hydroponic crop production and organic farming.
I personally believe that we need to work toward a more fruitful balance between the beneﬁts
of traditional row crop farming and evolving practices in sustainable agriculture and local foods
production. This notion is at the heart of KCC’s horticulture and agriculture programs—how can
traditional farms and sustainable producers work together in a mutually beneﬁcial manner to pro
vide food for the people and protect the environment. In the horticulture and agriculture courses I
teach both traditional and sustainable horticultural and agricultural practices receive equal and fair
discussion. Laboratory exercises focus on hands-on experiences in both traditional and sustain
able methods. The entire KCC horticulture and agriculture program is based on traditional horticul
tural and agricultural education with an emphasis on the emerging areas of sustainable horticultural
and agricultural practices.
Kankakee Community College programs
Plant Tissue Culture for the Home & Classroom
A hands-on workshop for hobbyists, teachers, students, Master Gar
deners, Nurserymen, and others. Presented by Dr. Scott Stewart and
Frank Tromble. Saturday, September 18, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registration is
$99 (includes lunch) Contact Dr. Carol Stiff at 608-302-2750 or [email protected]
hometissuecultureEducation.org to pre-register
Kankakee Kultivators – Garden Tour and Artisan Faire
June 18 and 19, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Visit six Kankakee area private gardens and two Kankakee Park District
sites at the Kankakee County Historical Society Museum. Participate in
the self guided tour for $20 (includes box lunch). The Faire is free to the
public. Go to www.kankakeekultivators.com for more information.
University of Illinois Extension Programs
2010 Telenet Summer Series- Four Seasons Gardening
These are teleconference sessions presented by an Extension
horticultural expert To register or for information call 815-933-8337
Tree Fruit Diseases in the Home Garden
6/29/10 at 1:00 p.m.
7/13/10 at 1:00 p.m.
Native Prairie Wildﬂowers
7/27/10 at 1:00 p.m.
Is Entrepreneurial Farming For You? – Workshop covers re
source assessment, goal setting, ﬁnancial planning, and marketing op
tions. It will be held at U of I Extension, Kankakee County, 1650 Com
merce Drive, Bourbonnais IL from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday,
June 15, 2010. Registration is $30 and includes a light supper. Contact
The Land Connection at 847-570-0701.
Center for Sustainable Community – Stelle, Illinois
Composting Workshop led by George Blackman 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, June 6- Cost is $40.00
Both are Open house events and a lunch will be available for purchase
as well as tours of Stelle and its community gardens. Call 815/256
2204 or go to csceducationalagriculture.org/events
Midwest Permaculture – Stelle, Illinois
Permaculture Design Certiﬁcation course - Cost: $1,595
A 12 day training session June 22 – July 3
Featuring Wayne Weisman on the Three Epochs of Humanity
Primitive / Wilderness Skills program – Cost: $575
A ﬁve day option June 22 – 26
Both held at Stelle, Illinois
Contact www.midwestpermaculture.com for information.
2010 Kankakee Farmer’s Market Schedule
May 22 – First Day of Summer Market (hours 7am – noon)
June 5 – Chamber of Commerce Day
June 19 – Health Fair
June 26 – Salute to Ag (Local Foods Breakfast)
July 10 – Library Family Fun Day
July 17 – Community Foundation Day
August 7 – Pro Chef Challenge
August 14 – Sweet Corn and Parade (11 p.m.)
August 22 – Amateur Chef Challenge
September 11 – Seniors’ Day
September 18 – Memory Walk
September 25 – Zonta Empowerment Walk
October 16 – Final Market
Are you a “Locavore”?
Many know that an “herbivore” eats
plant material, a “carnivore” is a meat-eater
and an “omnivore”
eats pretty much anything. But what’s a “locavore”? And why would
anyone want to be one?
According to the Oxford American Dictionary, a locavore is
someone who is interested in eating food that is locally produced,
not transported long distances to market. The food may be grown
in home gardens or produced by local commercial groups interested
in keeping the environment clean and selling their produce close to
its source to reduce the environmental impacts of transporting it to
more distant markets.
Farmer’s Markets are important in the effort to “eat local”
while the produce is in season. Preserving locally grown foods for use
in the off season periods is another locavore practice. It is their belief
that local foods are fresher, healthier and taste better than those
available from the local supermarket.
When you consider that many of the “fresh foods” at the
supermarket came from as much as 1,500 miles away and may be
several days or even weeks old, the locavores probably have a point!
So how about it, are you a Locavore?
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