High Tunnel & Field Vegetable Production: Summer Twilight Series

High Tunnel & Field Vegetable Production | Summer Twilight Series

Join us at Feather's Farm in Waterloo to learn about high tunnel and field vegetable production. Feather’s Farm is located east of Waterloo, in rural Monroe County. Feather’s Farm was established in 2018 and has expanded to multiple high tunnels, with greenhouse and field production of a wide range of vegetables and pasture-raised eggs. Their vegetable production is very compact, at only one-third of an acre, while the chickens rotationally graze three acres, so they have plenty of room to spread out. They pride themselves on having a pesticide-free, synthetic-free, no-till production system.  Even their amendments are custom blended on the farm using products like alfalfa and feather meal. They grow crops and maintain several sales outlets, including local Farmer’s Market, an online store, CSA, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Throughout the evening, Keith & Betsy will share their knowledge and experiences building a farm from the ground up. Some highlights will include a demonstration of how they grow lettuce through the summer heat (from seed to harvest), high tunnel and irrigation automation, the importance of irrigation water quality and how to fix poor water quality, rain harvest systems, and no-till production systems. Anyone interested in learning more about local vegetable production and marketing in southern Illinois are encouraged to attend and capitalize on this on-farm learning and networking opportunity.


Explore Additional Programs in the Southern Illinois Summer Twilight Series

During warm summer evenings, you’ll find our Local Foods team hosting events to highlight and demonstrate diverse farming enterprises across southern Illinois. Over the past seven years, the team has partnered with area farms to provide evening twilight meetings to allow participants to experience different types of production and marketing practices utilized by local producers.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact Bronwyn Aly at baly@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your needs.


Hydroponic Production | May 16 at 6 p.m. 

Robin Holloway of Little River Farm shares his experiences as a beginning farmer growing hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries. He will focus on production techniques within his two high tunnels, different hydroponic systems for lettuce production, the use of bumblebees to improve pollination, and his high tunnel heating and cooling systems. Dr. Kacie Athey, Specialty Crops Entomologist, University of Illinois Crop Sciences, will discuss different biological insect control options. Holloway will also discuss how demand drove his expansion as he sells mainly in the “off-season” of September through June in both wholesale and retail channels.  

Value-Added Products from Orchards | June 20 at 6 p.m. J

Libby and Derek Ervin of Glacier's End are teaming up with University of Illinois Extension to host the second of four twilight meetings at their orchard. Glacier's End is agribusiness-focused on specialty crops and cottage foods. They specialize in preserving food and beverages primarily sourced from their orchard, gardens, and woods, and they supplement from local farms and growers. Their production allows them to cultivate rare and unique varieties of fruit, vegetables, and flowers as they create delicious products for their kitchen and cellar. In addition, Family Life Educator Robin Ridgley will be on hand to discuss the Weathering the Storm program, which was developed by Michigan State University Extension to help farmers and farm families improve their toolkit of coping strategies related to farm stress. A brief overview of this program, along with resources to improve stress management, will be provided. 

Pasture-Raised Livestock | August 15 at 6 p.m. 

Join us at The Flock Farm in Anna to learn about pasture-raised livestock and poultry.