January 27, 2017

Request for Proposals! AUA is Organizing Micro-Workshops at Good Food Festival 2017 – Application Deadline: 2/20/17


Advocates for Urban Agriculture is delighted to invite you to be a part of the 2017 Good Food Festival & Conference!

The Good Food Commons was created to encourage Festival-goers to cultivate their curiosity by attending multiple informal 20 minute micro-workshops throughout the day. The workshops are organized thematically by Resource Centers, each focusing on important topics within the Good Food movement such as growing and preserving food, raising animals, learning culinary skills, and building and strengthening the Good Food movement in our communities. Click here for further details and to submit your proposal. Deadline to apply is Monday, February 20, 2017.

Event Date: Saturday, March 18, 2017
Event Hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Event Location: UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL
Workshops Hours: 10:30am – 4:00pm
Length of Workshops: 20 minutes

Thematic Resource Centers:

COMPOST IT: includes soil topics, vermiculture, compost teas, troubleshooting, best practices, or anything else related to composting practices.

GROW YOUR OWN: includes urban growing, container gardening, season extension, harvesting & handling, and other DIY gardening skills.

MAKE YOUR OWN: includes kitchen skills, keeping cultures (kombucha and sourdough), culinary curiosities, special diets, preserving, fermenting and other creative cooking topics.

RAISE YOUR OWN: includes livestock, raising urban animals, bees, chickens, goats, or anything else of interest to backyard livestock enthusiasts.

COMMUNITY BUILDING: includes organizations that build community and food literacy through growing, cooking, selling, eating and educating people about food.

In addition to the great exposure of presenting, if your proposal is selected you will be provided the following:

– An opportunity to host one complimentary exhibit table in Good Food Concourse on Friday, March 17, 2017. Your company will be listed in the Show Directory as a Friday exhibitor (please note: festival management requires a certificate of insurance from any presenter exhibiting at a table on Friday);

– A listing in the Show Directory as a Good Food Commons presenter (name, affiliation and workshop title);

– An opportunity to sell your own book onsite. As a reminder, the Good Food Festival & Conference is an educational forum, not a forum for sales; your presentation should not be an infomercial. If you sell your books, you are solely responsible for the sales and you must be in compliance with Illinois and Chicago Sales Tax requirements.

The following is the 2017 Organic Valley Good Food Commons Submissions timeline:
– The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 20, 2017.
– If accepted to participate, you will be notified no later than Friday, February 24, 2017. Please note that if your proposal is accepted, you may be asked to work collaboratively with other groups or individuals who submitted similar proposals. We appreciate your willingness to work cooperatively!

Click here for further details and to submit your proposal. Questions? Contact info@auachicago.org or commons@familyfarmed.org. Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to seeing the creative ideas our great Good Food community comes up with!

January 25, 2017

Join AUA’s Winter Gathering & Urban Livestock Expo on Saturday, Feb. 18!


Ever considered how to keep bees, goats, chickens, ducks or quails in your backyard? Join AUA’s winter gathering for free, fun workshops on daily care, ideal breeds, how to troubleshoot common problems, and professionals’ tips for being a good neighbor with animals in the city!

All levels of expertise and interest welcome, from the experienced to the curious! Mark your calendar for Saturday, Feb. 18th at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St. Chicago, from 10:00AM to 1:00PM. In addition to these great workshops, students will guide us on behind-the-scenes tours of their livestock barn and aquaponics center! 

Area urban livestock groups and businesses will also staff resource tables with information on further learning opportunities, support networks, sources of supplies and equipment, and more.

To power all that learning, we’ll have tasty local food and beverage vendors with us as well! Don’t miss this fun opportunity to expand your knowledge, connect with other practitioners, and get close to a goat. Spread the word to your networks with our Facebook event page, send questions to info@auachicago.org, and see you then!

January 12, 2017

USDA-NRCS Announces $300,000 for Cook County Urban Farmers


The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces $300,000 in financial and technical assistance for Cook County agricultural producers!

Learn about eligible projects and receive one-on-one application assistance at an informational workshop on Wednesday, January 25th, 9am-12pm. The training is free, open to the public, and organized by the USDA-NRCS, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, and the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Click here to register for this workshop.

Funding is through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and designated for urban agricultural producers who address natural resource concerns. In 2016, participants received funding to implement three practices: hoop houses, conservation cover, and cover crops. Historically disadvantaged and beginning farmers may be eligible for increased payments.

January 25th, 2017 USDA-NRCS Workshop Schedule:

  • 9am-9:30am: Joint presentation from NRCS and the USDA Farm Service Agency
  • 9:30am-12: Tables for one-on-one with prospective applicants to answer questions on: 1) farm tract number, 2) ownership documents for the application (i.e. how to get a copy of your land deed), 3) eligible projects and anticipated expenses

There are no pre-requisites to attending. USDA-NRCS encourages interested urban ag producers to submit a NRCS-CPA-1200 form before the next enrollment period ends on January 20th, however it is not required. Contact your local NRCS Service Center to submit an application. NRCS will work with you to develop a conservation plan after the application is submitted. Visit the NRCS website for more information on their programs.

Workshop location: The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 800, inside the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). It is highly accessible by public transportation. Please allow 10-15 minutes to pass through security and bring a valid state ID.

About the program: The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, or improved or created wildlife habitat.

Click here to register for this free workshop.

About the organizers:

– Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) is a coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses working to support and expand sustainable agriculture in the Chicago area, from home- and community-based growing to market gardens and small farms.

– NRCS helps America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.

– The City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is its principal planning agency and promotes the comprehensive growth and sustainability of the City and its neighborhoods.

January 3, 2017

Thank You for Helping AUA Reach our Year-End Fundraising Goal!


A grateful thank you to all who helped AUA reach our year-end goal of raising $1,000! As a grassroots organization, your support is integral to our coalition’s work of promoting sustainable urban agriculture in Chicago. Thank you as well to all the volunteers who contributed their time, efforts and passion in 2016! Our successes would not be possible without you.

AUA is dedicated to connecting people and communities across our city to create a strong, united voice for urban agriculture, and to providing opportunities for practitioners to share information and resources. Thank you for your involvement in this movement, and we look forward to working together in this new year!