Grant McCarty
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Address

Highland Community College, Bldg R
2998 W Pearl City Rd
Freeport, IL 61032
United States

Phone
815-235-4125
Team
Local Food Systems/Small Farms Educators

Grant McCarty works with commercial and backyard growers and producers by providing resources in fruit and vegetable production. His area of expertise includes soils management, organic/sustainable crop production, alternative crops, and general fruit and vegetable production. He further assists stakeholders within the local food system in helping them to expand their operation, adopt new practices, read soil tests, and/or better manage their current production.

Previous and current programs have focused on soil health, cover crops, fruit tree pruning, insect and disease management, hops, shiitake mushrooms, digital marketing, and many others.

Originally from East Tennessee, Grant McCarty received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Maryville College in 2008 and a Master of Science in Plant Sciences from University of Tennessee in 2012.

Program Offerings:

The Old and Neglected: Pruning Apple Trees and other fruit trees.
Offered multiple times in the winter, this class is designed for homeowners and backyard growers dealing with old and neglected fruit trees that have not been pruned for a couple years. Fruit trees include apple, peach, pears, and others.

Get Growing YouTube Series
Each week during the growing season, a different topic is presented in 4-5 minute segments such as japanese beetles, tomato/tobacco hornworm, trellising tomatoes, and many others.

Get Growing Webinar Series
Presented during the spring, fruit and vegetable production topics are presented. Past sessions have included Successful Squash, Totally Tomatoes, Beyond Dirt, Container Vegetable Gardening, Herbs, and others. These are archived on YouTube.

Backyard Cover Crops
Cover crops are finding their way into backyard and community gardens. As more noncommercial growers look toward building up their soil, cover crops can be used effectively to address problems and solutions from a backyard perspective. In this course, an overview on the cover crops are presented including the challenges that the grower may face in planting them and general production practices that need to be adhered to get the most out of these plants.

Stateline Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference.
During the winter, this program for commercial fruit and vegetable growers in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin is held in Rockford that delivers content based on production updates, insect/disease management, and new and emerging crops. Past presenters have included University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois Extension Specialists.

Hops U
As microbreweries and homebrewing has become increaslingly popular, growers have looked to determine if hops production can fit within their operations. McCarty offers assistance in providing resources and consultations for general hops production questions with a focus on disease and insect management.

The Cook's Garden
As your summer vegetable garden has come to a close, now is a great time to consider unusual or new varieties for your 2021 garden. Broccoli rabe, ‘Pink Banana’ squash, Cheddar’ cauliflower, Okinawan sweet potato, and spelt are some of the newer vegetables and grains trending. This class will look at what you can (and can ’t) grow in your summer garden, with a focus on produce that will be eaten fresh, made into sauces, have center stage in your cooking. Grains, unique vegetable varieties, microgreens, and flavor focused produce will be covered.