Common Ground Gathering

Thursday, June 8
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Soulful Prairies Farm, Woodstock, IL

Are you a sustainable farmer looking for land in McHenry County or the counties that surround it? Are you a landowner looking for a sustainable farmer to steward your land in keeping with your values?

If so, then you’ll want to attend the Common Ground Gathering being organized by the six partner organizations listed below. This will be a fun, casual social event where you’ll have the chance to learn and connect with sustainable farmers and landowners.

Registration for the Common Ground Gathering has now closed. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, registration will not be made available at the door. We are hopeful that this will be a useful and successful event that will become an annual, ongoing event. Please sign up for our email newsletter and/or our Facebook page to be kept in the loop regarding this and other activities.

The event will begin with the brief sharing of real-world experiences and lessons related to the sustainable farmer/landowner relationship.  We’ll have four different speakers:

Nick Choate-Batchelder and Becky Stark: Nick and Becky own and operate Midnight Sun Farm in Harvard, Illinois.  They grow over 40 different kinds of vegetables and herbs while also raising pastured laying hens and turkeys. Nick and Becky follow farming practices that preserve the ecological integrity of their farmland and the areas surrounding their farmland.

Tom Perry: Tom and his wife made possible Nick and Becky’s access to the 53-acre farm that they farm on today. Tom is also a hands-on investor in a direct-to-consumer farm business in Kane County that provides raw milk, 100% grass-fed beef, and pastured pork, poultry and eggs. After a long career in global accounting and finance, Tom served as the COO for 3 ½ years for a sustainable farmland investment company, focusing on using capital to make farmland properties available the sustainable farmers that wanted them.

Kirsten Jurcek:  After a career as a hydrogeologist, Kirsten Jurcek returned to her family farm in Jefferson, Wisconsin, to combine her passion for the environment, healthy food, family farms and opportunities for beginning farmers.  Through the farm transition process she converted the farm to a rotational beef grazing farm; placed a conservation easement on the property; and arranged a long-term lease for a beginning farmer to incorporate a silvoculture planting of nut and fruit trees.  Kirsten also works as a grazing educator and planner for Glacierland RC&D.

Much of the event will feature the opportunity for you to meet and chat with landowners and farmers who are also attending the event. We’ll try to make it as efficient and comfortable as possible for you to connect with the people who might help you make a good farmer-landowner partnership happen.

You’ll enjoy tasty food and cool liquid refreshments, including locally brewed beer, while spending time with people who share a common commitment to good food farming, healthy communities, and the goodness of living water.

The setting will be a treat as well. Linda Bruce and her husband first purchased the 80 acres that is now Soulful Prairies in 2009. Since then, Linda and her husband have been restoring the farm’s land and creating a set of renovated and new buildings.  Soulful Prairies is now the site for equine therapy and the venue for many community events.

Please contact:
> Nathan Aaberg (Liberty Prairie Foundation) –
> Linda Balek (The Land Conservancy of McHenry County) –