"From farm-raised fish to livestock raised without the use of drugs
or hormones, these two tours represent sustainable ways to 'grow'
healthy food of all kinds," said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Extension
specialist in small farm and sustainable agriculture, who is
coordinator of the tours.
The tour on Friday will visit Lyons
Fisheries in Sandoval, where Brenda and J.C. Lyons raise prawns, a
type of shrimp.
"The prawn industry in Illinois has made drastic changes since
the demise of the Illinois Fish Farmers Co-op that processed and
marketed the prawns for the industry," said Brenda Lyons. She and
her husband, J.C., own Lyons Fisheries. "There are now about a dozen
prawn growers left in Illinois," she said. "The majority of these
growers have developed their own markets by holding harvest
festivals that offer food and entertainment on harvest day."
Lyons said that on the tour, visitors will learn about the
transitioning markets in aquaculture and how they are transitioning
toward fish production. Visitors will see how farm-raised freshwater
prawns are raised through the summer months, then rainbow trout
during winter. There will be a presentation with information about
how to get started in the industry, aquaculture support, and state
rules and regulations. The tour will include the hatchery, nursery
and grow-out ponds as well as live prawns on display. Frozen rainbow
trout as well as freshwater prawn cookbooks will be available for
On July 22, Extension will host a tour of Cedar Valley
Sustainable Farm, an example of community-supported agriculture.
Community-supported agriculture, or CSA, is a program in which a
farmer or producer contracts for a monthly "subscription" of their
product with customers. Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm sells
subscriptions for their hormone-free poultry and livestock.
Beth and Jody Osmund left corporate jobs in Chicago to start
Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm north of Ottawa. Initially, they
leased 5 acres and have converted them to sustainable,
chemical-free, biological farming practices; 2.5 acres were planted
to vegetable production, with the remainder being seeded to
Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm began with a vegetable CSA and the
Ottawa farmers' market as sales outlets. In 2005, the Logan Square
farmers market in Chicago was added as an additional sales outlet.
In 2007, Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm provided 23 weeks of
vegetables to over 70 CSA members' families and another 30 families
received a monthly meat share beginning in June. This is in addition
to vegetable and meat sales at the farmers markets and other direct
sales methods: freezer meats, on-farm sales and limited retail
"We sell almost entirely through our community-supported
agriculture subscriptions," said Beth Ormund. "We offer a monthly
mix of beef, pork, chicken and eggs. We also sell at a farmers
market one day each month in conjunction with our largest CSA
[to top of second column]
Currently, 6 acres are in vegetable production, with the remaining
25 acres of tillable ground in forage crops. The whole farm has been
chemical-free since 2004. Vegetable plots are enriched with
composted animal manures and are rotated with mixed grass and legume
grazing areas every two years to use farm-generated fertility.
Ormund said that in addition to crop rotation, their farm uses
multiple-species, rotational grazing. "Laying hens follow grazing
cattle to help control parasites, and spread and incorporate
manure," she said. "Meat birds (chickens and turkeys) move over
recently grazed or baled paddocks, spreading additional manure to
enrich the pastures. The portable chicken field pens are moved twice
a day and provide precise, uniform manure coverage on the paddocks
while allowing the birds to graze and exercise on fresh grass," she
During the tour, guests will see all of the animal operations --
pigs, cows, laying hens, and pastured chickens and turkeys -- with
an emphasis on the life cycle of the meat birds, from arrival 24
hours after hatch until they are ready for the processor.
For more information about Cedar Valley, visit
A fee of $20 per person is charged for each tour, which
includes lunch. Registration at least one week in advance is
required. To register and for more details about each of the tours,
including a map and agenda, visit
web.extension.uiuc.edu/smallfarm/. To register by phone, contact
Donna Cray at 217-241-4644. For more information, contact Deborah
Cavanaugh-Grant at 217-968-5512 or
The remainder of the 2008 tour schedule is as follows:
University of Illinois Extension is a statewide educational
network that links the resources and research of the University of
Illinois to the people of Illinois. The programs and workshops,
which take place throughout the state, address issues involving
youth, families, community development, agriculture and natural
resources. If reasonable accommodations are needed in order to
participate in any of the programs, call 217-241-4644.
The tours are sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension,
the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education Professional Development Program, the Agriculture and
Tourism Partners of Illinois, and the Agroecology/Sustainable
Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois.
[Text from file received from
the University of Illinois
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences]