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Want to diversify your farming operation? Extension offers evening meetings

updated: 4/21/2017 4:16 PM

Do you grow and sell fresh products locally? Thinking about diversifying your farming operation? Would you like to get to know your local farmer? Join University of Illinois Extension and team up with area farmers to provide four monthly evening meetings to highlight and demonstrate diverse farming enterprises across Southern Illinois.

Over the course of the four twilight meetings, growers and extension educators will provide information on the following topics: u-pick lavender production, growing fruits and vegetables within city limits, fresh-cut flower production, mushroom production, organic vegetable production, and utilizing farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA's to market products.

At each of the meetings, various impacts of buying local will be explored, along with the importance of forming relationships with other local enterprises to increase business for both parties, grow the capacity of local foods and small farms, and support a stronger, more sustainable, regional economy.

Meeting are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 22, at Shawnee Hills Lavender in Cobden; Monday, June 19, at JC's Produce and Fruit Pies in Sesser; Monday, July 17, at Flower Ridge Farm in Herod; and Monday, Aug. 14, at Flyway Family Farm in Makanda.

There is no cost for these programs, but advanced registration is appreciated. Register online at or by phone at 618-382-2662.

For more information, contact Bronwyn Aly at 618-382-2662 or; or Nathan Johanning at 618-687-1727 or