Help The Talking Farm Grow in 2018! Donate To Our Annual Appeal.

Your donation to The Talking Farm goes a long way. Just think – only 6 years ago, the Howard Street Farm was a field of invasive weeds. Now, thanks to you, look how far we’ve come! 

Our key accomplishments in 2017: 

  • Grew over 14,000 pounds of 35 different varieties of organically-grown produce — 12.5% of which (1,750 pounds) were donated to a local food pantry, giving back to the community.
  • Through a partnership with Oakton Community College, Farm Managers Matt and Susanna became certified teachers to offer the first ever Introduction to Environmental and Horticultural Careers class to students from five surrounding high schools. 
  • We launched a new membership program that gave 20 members a chance to enjoy a weekly box of produce grown at the farm.
  • More farmer’s market days! We expanded our market presence in Skokie and Evanston, making our super-local produce more accessible to our communities.
  • We brought on Susanna Lohmar full-time to assist Farm Manager Matt Ryan with farmer-educator duties, helping us to expand the farm’s production and education programs.
  • We partnered with Y.O.U. in Evanston to provide a year-round program, F3 (Food Farming Future), to 35 Evanston Township High School students who explored issues of food security, social justice and health, learned to plan and build a garden, and grow, cook, and sell the vegetables.
  • We installed electricity to our washing shed.  This enabled us to install a walk-in cooler that will greatly improve our work efficiency.  It will also be vital for future expansion projects.  
  • We hosted 22 volunteer groups who received a total of 580 hours of urban agriculture instruction from Matt and Susanna. We also provided 790 hours of volunteer work to people from the community.
  • We provided 12 paid internships on the farm to high school and college students from Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, and Niles North High School. 


What’s up for 2018:

Farm Expansion Project! In this huge undertaking, we will grade the remaining 2.25 acres of the farm, establish two new growing fields (a 50% increase in growing space!) and install a water conservation pond that will collect excess rain runoff to feed the farm and create a habitat for eco-biodiversity. This Expansion Project furthers our mission to produce sustainably-grown produce and provide more hands-on educational opportunities on the farm. The costs of this project are significant – so we will need as much help as we can!

Pssst…do you have a cargo van in very good to excellent condition that you’d like to donate to The Talking Farm? We are in need of a van to help us deliver produce and carry supplies and produce to and from farmer’s markets. If you do, please drop us a line at


Your donation to The Talking Farm, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, supports our operations, educational programming, and our Expansion Project. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent permitted under the law. Please donate as generously as you can and help us meet our year-end goal!

The 7th Annual Hullabaloo at the Howard Street Farm — POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER — NEW DATE 10/21 1 to 4 pm



The Hullabaloo is our annual open house and we invite everyone to come out to the Howard Street Farm to celebrate our harvest and our community. This year we are celebrating the first year of our membership program. We will have games and activities for kids, an apple cider press, snacks from Union Squared Pizza and J&L Catering, beer from Sketchbook Brewing Co., cider from North Shore Cider Company,  farm tours, exhibits, games, music by Strictly Jug Nuts and the Old Town School of Folk Music, campfires, and more!

All ages are welcome. Admission is free. A $10 donation (except for Talking Farm members) and ID will be required for beer.


When: Saturday, October 14th, 21st, 1 to 4 pm.

Where: Howard Street Farm, 3669 Howard St. Skokie (behind the Tot Learning Center)

Cost: $10 suggested donation, free for members and sponsors



Last Chance to Join Us at Spring Thaw at Peckish Pig! 4/23 4-7 pm

Join The Talking Farm at our annual Spring event celebrating the start of the growing season and bringing The Talking Farm community together. This year, we will gather at a new location, The Peckish Pig, the locally-focused restaurant and brewery that sells Howard Street Farm produce. We will enjoy great food prepared by the Peckish Pig, taste the year’s first Howard Street Farm arugula, take a special tour of their brewery, taste their beer, and be the first to learn about the farm’s new membership program (which includes receiving a farm box of Howard Street Farm vegetables!). We are also partnering with Few Spirits, so that you will have the opportunity to try their “Breakfast Gin” in a welcome cocktail.

See old friends and meet new ones! Come celebrate with us!! We will be updating our Facebook page with additional highlights to this popular, must-go event!

Proceeds from Spring Thaw support The Talking Farm, a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization, which provides urban agricultural educational opportunities as well as operates the Howard Street Farm, a 2.75 acre urban farm that services the surrounding communities of Skokie, Evanston, northern Chicago and the north shore of Chicagoland.


Eventbrite - Talking Farm Spring Thaw
Day: April 23, 2017
Time: 4-7 p.m.
Place: Peckish Pig
             623 Howard Street
             Evanston, IL 60202

Tickets are $50 and $75. Click the link to buy tickets. Space is limited!



Eventbrite - Talking Farm Spring Thaw

Meet our new Hoop House!

The Howard Street Farm has a new addition — at the end of the growing season, Farmer Matt, Farmer Susanna and a group of great, dedicated volunteers erected a new 30′ x 72′ hoop house. The hoop house, besides looking great, will have the effect of extending our growing season. We will be able to grow more food for longer in 2017. It’s not in production yet, but it has the seal of approval from a local hawk, which stopped by during construction.

Take a look –


Hoop house – readied for planting but not “skinned” yet


Newly skinned hoop house


Another view


A hawk comes to watch


Our two large hoop houses at the Howard Street Farm

Hullabaloo 2016! Saturday, October 22nd, 12-5, Howard Street Farm


This 6th Annual Hullabaloo will be held at the Howard Street Farm on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 12 to 5 pm. This year, we’re selling pumpkins for the first time as part of the festivities! Pumpkin sales will kick off at 12 noon, and the Hullabaloo festivities will begin at 1 pm and continue through 5 pm. Pick up a pumpkin or two, and stay to decorate it!

For those who don’t know, the Hullabaloo is our annual open house and we invite everyone to come out to the Howard Street Farm to celebrate our harvest and our community. This year, we’ve expanded the farm by adding another grow field, so the farm is bigger than ever — as will be the Hullabaloo! We will have:

Music Schedule:

1 pm – Strictly Jug Nuts

1:45 – The Old Town School Community Chorus

2:15 – Strictly Jug Nuts

3:00 – Tell ’em Henry

Pumpkin sales start at 12 noon
Hullabaloo festivities 1 – 5 pm
Howard Street Farm
3669 Howard Street (behind the Tot Learning Center), Skokie
All ages welcome. Suggested donation. $5/person; $20/family. Pumpkins $6-8/each.

All proceeds from the Hullabaloo support The Talking Farm, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.

Appreciation and thanks go to our 2016 Hullabaloo sponsors, Marcum LLP & First Bank & Trust:



Fresh, locally-grown apples for the event provided by Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks


The Talking Farm’s First Farm Dinner [Photo Gallery]

We had a blast at our first harvest farm dinner ever held at the Howard Street Farm on September 18th. Our guests enjoyed food prepared by J and L Catering made from vegetables harvested just hours before the event. (Check out those gorgeous salads!) The evening started with Etienne Doué champagne and passed hors d’oeuvres in the demonstration garden, included farm tours and a sit down dinner, and ended with s’mores and cordials near the campfires.

Thanks to everyone who attended and made the event a success. Special thanks to Matt Ryan, Susanna Lohmar and Elaine Madansky for making the farm look so great, growing fantastic produce, and giving farm tours! (Extra thanks to Susanna for putting together our centerpieces.)

Check out the pics — and look out for details on next year’s Harvest Farm Dinner! [Click on a picture to launch the gallery.]


Season Extension Class with Farmer Matt — 9/24


Do you want to make your garden produce even as the weather gets colder? Farmer Matt’s Season Extension class will cover the basics of season extension (what, why and how). You will learn about:

-different extension methods (cold frames, plastic row covers, hoops house, agro bond row covers) and the materials used for these methods

-applications for backyard gardens

-which crops are best for season extension and the dates for planting

-building row cover hoops

**Attendees will have the option to buy row cover and hoops from TTF for fall garden to get started right away.**

$30 Fee includes handouts

Need-based scholarships are available. Contact for more information.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM


Howard Street Farm

3669 Howard St

Skokie, IL

The Talking Farm’s First-Ever Farm Dinner —9/18, Howard Street Farm, Skokie


Join us for an intimate Harvest Dinner at the Howard Street Farm! We will begin the evening with a champagne reception and passed hors d’oeuvres, then sit down for a family-style dinner with wine and beverages at a table situated right among the crop rows at the Howard Street Farm. Kevin Kelly, Board Member and co-owner of J & L Catering, and his staff will get out their grills and prepare a multi-course dinner right on the farm using produce grown steps away while guests can mingle and tour the farm. After dinner, we’ll gather near a campfire for dessert. **UPDATE: Only a few seats left!!**

Sample Menu (items subject to change based on seasonality)

Passed Hors d’Oeuvres and Champagne

  • Smoked salmon blini with sour cream, tarragon and lemon zest
  • Fresh vegetarian spring rolls with plum sauce
  • Poached Shrimp with peach and balsamic dipping sauce

Family Style Dinner

  • Talking Farm Caprese Salad – THE MOST LOCAL TOMATOES POSSIBLE! with burrata, basil, mixed greens, drizzled with olive oil, peppercorns & pink sea salt
  • Grilled Summer Squash Platter – Kalamata Olives, Roasted Grapes, Rosemary Oil
  • The Grains- Red & White Quinoa, Farro, Sweet Onions, Edamame, Cranberries, Mint, Parsley, Avocado, Citrus Zest
  • From the Grill – Grilled Chicken and Scottish Salmon with Roasted Garlic Wilted Talking Farm Greens(or beet tops, turnip greens, etc)
  • Baskets of Breads and Rolls


Platters of Petite Sweets & Fruit-Berry Salad


Click here for tickets.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit The Talking Farm’s educational programs and farm development projects. The Talking Farm is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. Ticket prices are tax-deductible to the extent allowed under the law.

To donate in lieu of attendance click here. 

Howard Street Farm – 3669 Howard Street, Skokie, IL

What’s In Your Soil? Soil Ecology & Analysis Class – Sat. 9/17

With the state of the world today, it is ever more important to know what’s in your soil. In this class you will have an actual chance to analyze what’s in your soil with one of the leading soil scientists in the area, Dr. Bala Chaudhary of DePaul University. The composition of your soil can affect your plants, your vegetables and your health.

Come learn about the complex physical, chemical, and biological interactions that take place underground and all around us. Bring a cup of soil from your garden and together we will test its chemical properties. You will analyze several physical and chemical properties of your soil in class and will walk away with results and Dr. Chaudhary’s interpretation of your results. You will also, come away with experience on how to do future tests on your own. $50 (includes $25 value for cost of testing kit and specific analysis).

Instructor: Dr. Bala Chaudhary, Assistant Professor at DePaul University and Soil Ecology expert.

Need-based scholarships are available. Contact for more information.

WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM (CDT)

WHERE: Howard Street Farm – 3669 Howard St, Skokie, IL 60076

COST: $50 (includes $25 value for cost of testing kit and specific analysis)


Join Us for the Last Two Potluck BBQs at the Howard Street Farm in 2016

The Talking Farm Potluck BBQs
at The Howard Street Farm

Upcoming BBQs for 2016:

Sept 30 – 6:30 pm – 9 pm

October 28 – 6:30 pm – 9 pm

We will be keeping The Howard Street Farm open late on select Fridays this season. Join us starting at 6:30 pm for a chance to hang out, get to know one another, and enjoy the cool of the evening at the farm. It’s potluck style – BYOFB (bring your own food and beverage) and we will provide the grill and the coals. The event is FREE, we just ask that you reserve your place as space is limited. (Follow links below to reserve.)

Come share a meal with members of the community!

Click HERE to reserve for September 30th

Click HERE to reserve for October 28th