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Modern homesteading series generates interest among local residents

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. – A modern homesteading series kicked off in January as residents from across southern Illinois gathered to learn how they can become better connected to their food, family, and community.

Homesteading can mean different things to different people, and the evening started with moments of self-discovery to determine why homesteading is important. There were many answers, but a common theme was self-sufficiency and having a greater connection to the land.

Paula Brockman, a resident of Franklin County, has dabbled in homesteading but wants to do more.

“I feel a calling to not only actively homestead but also to promote homesteading,” said Brockman. “I hope to gain knowledge and confidence to sincerely begin this journey.”

The 2023 series will include a variety of workshops led by educators and experts throughout the state. While each program is a separate event in the series, Local Foods and Small Farms Program Coordinator Maggie Ray said they hope to build a community of individuals that can grow together. Anyone that missed the introductory program is still invited to participate in future workshops or be a part of this year’s group of homesteaders.

“In addition to our programs, we’re offering a quarterly session for participants to meet virtually,” said Ray. “We can all learn from one another, and this is a great way to share ideas.”

Unless otherwise noted, all events will be held at the Jackson County Extension office at 402 Ava Rd. in Murphysboro, IL, 62966, at 5:30 p.m. The next four programs include:

  • Jan. 24 - Fruit Trees and Small Fruits for the Home Grower 
  • Feb. 16 - Goats and Sheep
  • March 9 - Backyard Poultry
  • March 28 - Composting

The series is free and open to the public. To learn more or register for upcoming programs, visit or call (618) 687-1727.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, please contact Maggie Ray at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

WRITER: Heather Willis, marketing and communications coordinator,, (618) 357-2126

SOURCE: Maggie Ray, local foods and small farms program coordinator,, (618) 687-1727

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.