Western fields graded and cleared for future establishment of Fields 5-8 for crop production. Total production at the Howard Street Farm expected to be approximately 60,000 pounds by 2022.
Expanded membership program with over 50 participants, including 31 people signing up to receive weekly farm boxes.
Expansion of presence at Skokie and Evanston farmers markets.
Approximately 21,000 pounds of produce from the Howard Street Farm and off-site farm gardens to restaurants, a membership program, wholesaler, and farmers markets. 10% will be donated to local food pantries.
Online seedling pre-sales expanded, making this year's seedling sales our biggest ever for local community gardeners. Third year growing seedlings in partnership with the Green Thumbs Club of Niles North High School.
Hops planted and harvested for the first time at the Howard Street Farm pursuant to an exclusive partnership with Sketchbook Brewing Company.
Water main extended to fields 5-8 and 3 new field hydrants installed, putting into place the ability to irrigate new crop fields.
Third hoop house (30'x72') built.
Educational programming continues with established, multi-year programs with Y.O.U. Evanston, Edible Acre, NSERVE, farm internship and FarmHand programs, and Orchard Village, among others.
8,700 pounds of produce from the Howard Street Farm distributed to restaurants and wholesaler, and 10% is donated to local food pantries. Additional produce sold at the Evanston and Skokie Farmers Markets and through a membership program.
Farmer's market presence expanded and doubled.
Membership program established giving 20 members a weekly produce box.
Second full time employee (Assistant Farm Manager) brought on staff.
Seedling sales continue and online seedling pre-sales started for the first time. Second year partnering with Niles North High School Green Thumbs Club to grow seedlings.
Second Farm Dinner held with Boltwood Evanston with 56 people in attendance.
7th annual Hullabaloo held at the Howard Street Farm, with expanded offerings and partnerships with restaurant- and beverage-customers. Hundreds of people attended.
Work begins on clearing the remaining acreage of the farm (the "Western Fields") for development into Growing Fields 5-8.
200-AMP Electrical service installed at Howard Street Farm.
Shed for walk-in cooler built on farm and walk-in cooler installed to store produce.
Partnership established with University of Illinois to use funds from an EPA grant to create a water recycling system to irrigate the farm.
Y.O.U. year-round educational program begins, to continue through 2020.
Continuation of the Orchard Village garden program, and the beginning of the NSERVE summer school program at the Howard Street Farm. Taught agricultural class at Evanston Township High School.
Niles North summer internship program established with grant funding from the Skokie Community Foundation.
First year of selling produce at the Skokie and Evanston Farmers Markets.
9,600 pounds of produce sold through wholesaler and expanded sales to local restaurants. 10% is donated to local food pantry.
First farm dinner held on the Howard Street Farm with 25 people in attendance.
Seedlings sales held again. First year of partnership with Green Thumbs Club of Niles North High School to grow seedlings.
Second hoop house built, increasing the Howard Street Farm's growing power and extending the growing season.
Water main established to irrigate the farm and support The Talking Farm's water conservation practices.
Edible Acre, farm internship, and FarmHand Certification programs continue.
First year of partnership with Orchard Village to build urban farm that aids and feeds Orchard Village's constituents.
The Howard Street Farm raises its stature as a community resource for on-farm group work-and-learn days with over 2,000 volunteer hours.
Processing shed for washing and preparing produce grown on the Howard Street Farm is built and dedicated on August 27, 2015 at an event attended by local community members and Village of Skokie officials.
Fields 1 & 2 are drained and graded, and planted with cover crops to be ready for edible crop production in 2016.
5,700 pounds of locally-grown produce is distributed to a wholesaler and restaurant, and 10% is donated to a local food pantry.
Edible Acre, farm internship, and FarmHand Certification programs continue.
The Howard Street Farm is established as a community go-to resource for on-farm group work-and-learn days.
The Village of Skokie grants The Talking Farm a special zoning designation to operate the Howard Street Farm as a full-production urban farm, thus drastically changing the focus of The Talking Farm towards funding and developing 2.5-acres of undeveloped land behind the Tot Learning Center in Skokie.
20-year Use Agreement secured with the Skokie Park District (with a 10-year option to extend) to operate the Howard Street Farm as a full-production urban educational farm.
First full-time Farm Operations Manager hired to lead farm operations and educational programs.
First growing season at the Howard Street Farm begins. Fields 3 and 4 planted for crop production. 2,700 pounds of produce grown at the farm is sold to a wholesaler, and 10% is donated to local food pantry.
Edible Acre program grows into a formalized partnership with Evanston Township High School.
Farm Internship program established and first interns begin working at the farm in an intensive seasonal farming program.
First hoop house established that extends the growing season.
Gravel road graded (replacing muddy passageway) and parking area created at Howard Street Farm, easing distribution of produce.
2012 - 2013
Farm / Infrastructure:
Howard Street Farm sees many improvements via 2,000 volunteer hours (45 groups, total 750 volunteers) as 10,000 square foot Demonstration Garden is completed with fencing, 15 raised beds, 2 small hoop houses, and container gardening demonstrations. Fields 3 and 4 are graded and readied for crop production.
2nd and 3rd Annual Hullabaloos held at the Howard Street Farm, increasing awareness of the development of the Howard Street Farm.
First seedling sale held in 2013 at the Howard Street Farm.
64 groups visit the farm, and increase presence at events, presentations, garden fairs, farmers markets, and other community events.
FarmHand Certification Program started in 2013.
Zoning process continues throughout 2012 and 2013, during which The Talking Farm sought Skokie's first (and only to date) zoning designation for urban farming.
Negotiations with Skokie Park District succeed and establish a temporary Use Agreement that gives The Talking Farm access to an urban farming site at 3701 Howard Street in Skokie. The Howard Street Farm is established.
Work begins on clearing the land. The Talking Farm dramatically shifts its focus towards full-production urban farming to fulfill its mission.
The Talking Farm initiates process to obtain special zoning designation from the Village of Skokie to operate the Howard Street Farm as a full-production urban farm that can grow, distribute, and sell vegetables.
The first part-time Farm Operations Manager hired to direct development of the Howard Street Farm.
First Annual Hullabaloo, The Talking Farm's open house event at the Howard Street Farm, draws over 300 local attendees.
Edible Acre collaborates with Evanston's SYEP (Summer Youth Employment Program) to employ Evanston Township High School students and establish a farmers market on Wednesdays to sell produce grown at the Edible Acre.
The Talking Farm enters into negotiations with the Skokie Park District to farm 2.5-acres of undeveloped land held by the Skokie Park District as it investigates viability of obtaining historic zoning designation to operate as a full-production urban farm.
Edible Acre Pilot Project is fully operational to operate garden to grow produce for use in-school cafeteria.
2007 - 2009
Educational mission begun through programs, demonstration gardens, providing technical assistance for community and school gardens, engaging community garden and service clubs, and selling produce grown to local businesses.
Edible Acre Pilot Project initiated at Evanston Township High School.
The Talking Farm 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was born out of the grassroots efforts of people with the aim of improving our food system.