Local Food & Small Farms

Americans have never been more interested in understanding where their food comes from and how it was grown and prepared. From the use of pesticides during the growing season to the practice of composting food waste, there is a lot of information available through Illinois Extension that provides insight into how fruits, vegetables, and food products move through their life cycle. The Local Foods & Small Farms program provides resources to help consumers and producers better understand their role and responsibilities within the local food movement. 

A Season of Harvests at the Refuge Food Forest

A harvest is ripening at our community food forest, despite no handful of seeds planted. 

How does a garden return without planting seeds?
It never left. 

The Refuge Food Forest is a perennial polyculture - a garden filled with plants that grow, year after year. This fresh fruit and nut haven is open to the public year-round, dusk till dawn. Community members are welcomed to weed and wander while delighting in fruit and nut favorites or perennial first-trys.

Hosted by Nick Frillman, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Extension Educator.
Partner organizations and community members alike will join in weeding, mulching, or trimming on monthly guided workdays. Don't be intimidated by a lifetime of weed challenges. Consider our motto: weed early, weed often. Then put it to practice, all season long, at The Refuge Food Forest.

Join us June - September for work and harvest days.

JUNE 14, 23, 28 (Cherries, White Currants, Red Currant, Juneberries/Serviceberries)

JULY 12, 21, 28 (Red Currants, White Currants, Black Currants, Elderberries)

AUGUST 9, 18(Apples, Pear, Black Currants, Elderberries, Hazelnuts)

SEPTEMBER 6, 13 (Apples, Pears, Chestnuts)

Come for the weeds, leave with the harvest.

Join The Refuge Food Forest Facebook group to stay up-to-date on rain dates and cancellations.