Macomb Community Garden Takes Shape

June 1, 2010

Macomb’s Community Garden Project is taking shape on Park District property on East University Drive.  To get a 10 foot x 10 foot plot of your own contact Dr. Rob Porter at  Your $20 fee will help support the purchase of tools, wood chips for walkways, water storage until a permanent water supply is installed, and other gardening odds and ends.

Kenne Dallefeld tilled the community garden plot in late May

If you are interested in supporting the community garden but don’t have the time or inclination to garden a plot yourself you may want to consider a cash donation that would sponsor a garden plot by someone else.

Rob Porter and nnn unload wood chips for pathways at the community garden

Garden plots ready for planting

Click here to see all of the photos of the community garden on University Drive.

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Macomb Farmer’s Market Opens Thursday!

May 26, 2010


Hello All!  Welcome to another fabulous season of the Macomb Farmers Market!  I know that I have been anticipating the first market day for months and can’t wait to browse the stands filled with wholesome foods amidst Macomb’s historic town square. The Macomb Farmer’s Market is open from 7 am until 1 pm Thursday and Saturday.  I hope that you are as excited as I am! Be sure to stop by the FIG Children’s Tent between 9am and 11am on Saturday. Here, kids can take home sprouting peanuts. During the season, if there is anything that you’d like to see in this newsletter, or any feedback you’d like to give, please don’t hesitate to email Happy Shopping!

Available This Week*

hormone & antibiotic-free beef cuts, franks & brats

hothouse cucumbers     strawberries                       onions

green tomatoes               asparagus                           lettuce

spinach                             kale                                      radishes

arugula                             swiss chard

*Projection based on interviews with a few local producers.

Spring Greens with Hot Bacon Dressing

Serves 4

-1/2 lb. smoked bacon

-12 c. mixed spring greens, washed and towel dried
-1/3 c. water
-1/3 c. cider vinegar
-1/4 c. brown sugar
-1 ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
-2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

Slowly fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy.  Drain, reserving 1/3 c. of the bacon fat.  Crumble the bacon and set aside.  Combine the bacon fat, water, vinegar and brown sugar in the skillet and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Simmer over medium heat until boiling.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Pour the hot dressing over the greens and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with egg slices.

A Few Reasons to Shop at the Market

1.) Local food is better for you! Produce contains the most nutrients when it is picked ripe and eaten shortly after harvesting. Many of the fruits and veggies seen in stores were picked green and shipped for thousands of miles before even reaching the shelves. Farmers Market produce is picked at the peak of freshness, often only a few hours before it is purchased by the consumer.

2.) Farmers Markets build community relationships. Shopping at the market allows you to get to know farmers and other customers, strengthening social bonds, and building relationships of trust between consumers and producers. There are always new and old friends to be found on market days.

The mission of Food Initiatives group is to involve community members in the growing of a fair, sustainable, and local food system.

Printing by McDonough Co. U of I Extension.

3.) Buying locally builds the economy. Every penny spent at the farmers market stays in the community, helping local farmers and businesses, as well as being reinvested into the local economy.  In this way, the impact of every local dollar grows exponentially.

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Write and tell us what you think about this newsletter at:

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FIG Helps Sponsor Earth Day 2010 in Macomb

April 22, 2010

Macomb’s Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 24, at Macomb Junior-Senior High School is getting a boost from FIG this year in the form of a $250 sponsorship.  The FIG Board wants to recognize and support events, individuals and organizations that help to build environmentally sustainable communities in Western Illinois and Macomb’s Earth Day celebration fits that criteria very well.  Here is the official announcement for the event.

Earth Day Fair 2010 – Celebration of the Prairie
Saturday, April 24th, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At Macomb Junior-Senior High School Commons
1525 S. Johnson Street

Sponsored by: Environmentally Concerned Citizens, Western Prairie Audubon Society, Macomb High School Ecology Club, Food Initiatives Group, Macomb Beautiful, LaMoine River Ecosystem Partnership

9:00 Fair Begins!
10:00 Prairie Potting– Seed Textures, Types, and Strategies
Table Activity with Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis and Audubon Society

11:00 Raptors 101: Show with Live Birds (barn owl, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture)– Jacques Nuzzo & Jane Seitz, Illinois Raptor Center Gym

12:00 Native American Games — Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis

1:00 Storytelling – Prairie Fire Performance – Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis

2:00 Raptors 101: Show with Live Birds (barn owl, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, turkey )– Jacques Nuzzo & Jane Seitz, Illinois Raptor Center Gym

3:00 Climate Change Effects on Midwest, Dr. Redina Herman (in classroom)

Lunch/Snacks: Wholesome foods offered by Cornucopia, a natural food store in Galesburg

A Glance at the Commons….

WIU: Biology Department, Institute for Environmental Studies, others
The Nature Quilt Project (painting squares for the prairie quilt)
Sponsor tables – ECC, WPAS, FIG

A wide diversity of green vendors and organizations displaying information, offering activities, and selling products! Free mulch from Macomb City tree cutting.
All events are free and handicapped accessible.

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FIG Helps Plant Gardens At Lincoln School

April 21, 2010

WIU professors Dr. Heather McIlvaine-Newsad and Dr. Joel Gruver and FIG helped several teachers at Lincoln School establish container gardens during the warm weather in April.

Dr. Heather McIlvaine-Newsad and students plan their garden.

The students in Mrs. Standley’s and Miss Hentzel’s third grade classes and Mrs. Streit’s first grade class all got to taste carrots and lettuce, mix soil, and plant seeds in container gardens constructed from kiddie-sized plastic swimming pools.  FIG provided funds for the pools, seeds and watering cans.

FIG Chair Dan Barclay mixes soil with the students.

Dr. Gruver provided the soil, seeds, and lettuce starts.

The students and Dr. Gruver prepare the garden for planting.

Dr. McIlvaine-Newsad provided seeds, snack carrots and lettuce.

Everyone wants seeds!

The students had a lot of fun and will now get to learn something about what it takes to keep a garden growing.  The lettuce, radishes and flowers are all sprouted and thriving.  The students will be able to harvest some of those crops before school is out in early June.  The carrots are up as well, but they will not be ready to harvest until mid-summer.

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Earth Summit at WIU

April 10, 2010

FIG was well-represented at WIU’s Earth Summit on Wednesday, April 7th.  Treasurer Jamie Lane and Chair Dan Barclay staffed an information table.  Several people indicated interest in FIG and were enthusiastic about FIG’s mission.  The Macomb Food Co-op Steering Committee had a table right next to FIG’s and it was exciting to see all of the interest that people have in establishing a local food store in our area.

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FIG turns out for WIU Guest Speaker Vandana Shiva

April 1, 2010

WIU guest speaker Dr. Vandana Shiva drew a large crowd of FIG members to her talk last night in the Grand Ballroom of the University Union.  Entitled, “Sustainability and the Global Food Crisis,” her talk addressed a variety of themes that are important to FIG such as corporate control of farm land, seed varieties, water supplies, and anti-democratic influence over agricultural policies.  Shiva spoke about the importance of local food systems under community control as a safe-guard for future food security.  Click here to learn more about the Work of Dr. Shiva and her organization, Navdanya.

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WIU talks about food

February 14, 2010

Food will be the topic for two speakers at WIU this week. The first speaker will be nutrition expert Jim Painter who is coming to Western Illinois University on Wednesday, February 17, to present “Portion Size Me: Why We Eat More than We Think”.

Dr. Holly Stovall of WIU’s Women’s Studies Department and Food Initiatives Board member will make a presentation at noon, Thursday, February 18, entitled, “In the Kitchen With the Local Foods Movement: A 21st Century Feminist Theory of Cooking.” The location will be room 180 of the Malpass Library.  The Western Organization for Women (WOW) is sponsoring the talk.  Bring your lunch!

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Know and Grow Your Food Chain

February 3, 2010

As many of you know, our area lacks an infrastructure of small-scale food processing facilities. This recent story at the Blog For Rural America by Steph Larsen does an excellent job highlighting the problem and suggesting a number of solutions.  I especially liked the attention paid to developing beginning farmers, butchers, millers, cheese-makers, grocers, etc., who have the skills, enthusiasm, and community spirit to revitalize our communities and lead us in the future.

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Big Turnout for FIG Winter Supper

January 25, 2010

The Food Initiative Group (FIG) Winter Community Supper on Saturday, January 23rd, was a great success.  An estimated 150 people attended this free community supper.

Winter Supper guests enjoy great local food

Great food was available (recipes below) and several information tables informed people about community gardening, growing sprouts, and FIG.

Karen Peitzmeier prepares her sprout-growing display

Students from one of Dr. Heather McIlvain-Newsad’s WIU anthropology classes greeted arriving guests, bussed tables and otherwise kept everyone comfortable.  The Macomb First Presbyterian Church hosted the event and provided a wonderful venue with plenty of comfortable seating and a spacious, modern kitchen in which to work.

Great cooks in a great kitchen!

The FIG Winter Community Supper planning team of Holly Stovall, Jamie Lane, Lisa Gruver, and Jan Welch did a terrific job putting the event together.  Local NPR station WIUM interviewed Holly Stovall at the supper and you can listen to the interview here.

Local producers Ann Runner, Kenne and Debbie Dallefeld, and others provided the food for the event from their farms in the area.  One of the goals of the event was to keep food dollars in the community and spur the local economy by buying local food.  The McDonough County Voice newspaper covered the event and helped spread the word about the availability of local food in their January 27 article. Many FIG members arrived at the kitchen at 9:00am to begin preparing the meal.  Everyone had a great time.  You can view more photos of the event that were taken by FIG memeber and WIU faculty member Dr. Joel Gruver by clicking here.

Here are recipes that were used at the supper and a list of the local producers who supplied the food. (more…)

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Community Meeting to Plan a Community Garden

January 19, 2010

A community meeting to plan a community garden has been scheduled at 6:30 Monday, January 25, 2010 at WIU’s Horn Field Campus.  Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Professor Rob Porter will lead the meeting.  Anyone in the community is invited to attend.

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