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Training a New Generation of Black Farmers

Rotating Apprenticeship Farmer


RAFT-P Highlights:
Farmer Mentors to guide you to successful farming Boots N Saddles Ranch of Pembroke, Illinois prepares for Chicago Markets 2 yr Farmer Training Immersion, hands on learning while earning to build a local food economy Purchase, lease or partner on the farmland youve trained on cooperatively at the end of the training

Pembroke, Illinois: Home to the Black Oak Savanna, Black Cowboys & Black Farmers
Pembroke Illinois, 60 miles south of Chicago, was founded by a freeman. Pap Tetter and his 18 children got off the Underground Railroad here, just west of the Indiana border from N. Carolina in 1861. He homesteaded 40 acres which is now Old Hopkins Park. Many a farmer joined him in their northern migration up the Mississippi River. They churned the sands of the Black Oak Savanna into rich, fertile loam. Pembroke was once one of the largest black farming communities north of the Mason Dixon line.

Pembroke fed growing black neighborhoods on Chicagos west and south sides during the 1st half of the 20th century. In the dismantling of small farm, local food infrastructure during the Green Revolution (1940-70s), Pembroke strives to overcome the economic challenge of being disenfranchised from the commercial food system. While much black land has been lost. There are families who have held on to their land and the dream of Pembroke once more, being a sustainable farm community Be a part of this transformation. Make this dream real.

Farming is projected to be one of the most rewarding careers of the future. More than 7 billion people on the planet have to eat!

You Love to Grow Food. Your Passion and Purpose is working with the Earth. You are healthy, strong and holistic: good mental and physical endurance Entrepreneurial spirit. Want to make a difference
Take the quiz:

Is RAFT-P for You?


For over 3 years, members of the Healthy Food Hub have stayed steadfast to the vision of creating local food security and economic opportunity for youth through local food production.

RAFT-P Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 1 2013 Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living

30+ hour/wk Earn from what you grow Hands On&Class Accommodations Equipment Share Tool Share Farmland Market Demand
E-Mail: Web Site: call 773-410-3446 or

Rotating Apprenticeship Farmer Training Pembroke

Trainees selected for RAFT-P will learn the art and science of sustainable food production rotating on family farms in Pembroke. They will learn to grow vegetables, green manure for livestock feed, grain production, care of livestock including goats, cows and poultry while practicing conservation of Black Oak Savanna. Training will include high tunnel production to extend growing seasons to get local food to surrounding markets from early spring to late fall. In the second year, specialty crop production training will include medicinal herb production, mushroom production, fruit production, dairy, beekeeping, aggregation and the development of shelf stable products. Trainees will learn about all aspects of a local food system. Trainees will learn from and alongside senior Mentor Farmers of Pembroke as well as successful organic farmers in Central Illinois. Liberty Prairie Crossing/Angelic Organics will teach mentor/mentee pairs the business of farming while the Federation of Southern Cooperatives will teach how to build wealth through cooperative farming. Innovations in Cultivation will bring world renowned teachers making headways in food production to Pembroke to share their skills with our Trainees and the community abroad. Trainees will be certified in Permaculture with advance training during the 2 yr intensive. Now accepting applications for the winter of 2013. Applications re-open in the fall of 2014

815-944-8130 Food is the Challenge before Us Food is at the heart core of 21st century challenges. newsletter

The global commercial agricultural system that most of us eat from is very unsustainable. It takes 10 kcal of fossil fuel to produce 1kcal of food in this system. Most of our food travels thousands of miles to get to our plate and too much of the earth has been stripped and strained from deforestation, green house gases and chemicals used in conventional farming. As the earths population continues to grow to levels never recorded, the adverse affects of climate change makes commercial food production more difficult. The solution: sustainable local, food production methods that aid in healing ecosystems, people and local economies. Small farms are vital to the local food system that is being re established here in Illinois and nationwide. The average U.S. farmer is over 55. The growing need for local food inside this widening age gap will be a ticket to ride as senior farmers retire and billions of dollars spent on global imports will be forced to come home to roost. Get on RAFT-P to ride the wave to resilience. Restore multiple levels of wealth in our communities.
This project is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2012-49400-19696. To find more resources and programs for beginning farmers and ranchers, a component of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Pop Ivy is one of many senior farmers in Pembroke who still farm. He has taught many youth about farming. He is pictured here at Ivy Farms in a field of turnip greens that he seeded from a small envelop of organic purple top turnip seeds given to him by the Healthy Food Hub 3 years ago. He harvested the seeds from the first crop to produce more than enough seeds to broadcast over 5 acres for fall harvest. Pop Ivy looks forward to the day when he teaches and the young people take the food to the market while he is paid in advance for his labor of love.

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RAFT-P Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 1 Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living

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