Winter workshops offer help to small farmers

Every small farm is different. Direct market farmers sending produce to local restaurants have different needs than homesteaders getting started with livestock for the first time.

Small farmers, hobby operations, and backyard growers can turn to the University of Illinois Extension for help and insights.

The 2022 Small Farms Winter 10-part webinar series starts on Thursday, Jan. 20 with weekly workshops on emerging topics such as agroforestry and regenerative agriculture to always popular sessions on growing grapes and vermicomposting.

All sessions are at noon on Thursdays from Jan. 20 to March 24. Courses are free and open to the public. Learn more about the sessions being offered or sign up online at

Each week, a new presenter will explore a small farm community topic to help producers adopt research based practices, start growing a new crop, or apply new management techniques to improve production and increase profit. Presenters include Illinois Extension researchers, educators, and specialists, as well as experienced farmers and Illinois agricultural groups.

The series will cover:

  • Jan. 20, Practical Agroforestry for Illinois Small Farms
  • Jan. 27, Regenerative Agriculture: Techniques Toward Sustainable Vegetable Production
  • Feb.  3, Commercial Pumpkin Production
  • Feb.  10, Cottage food updates: 2022 Illinois Home to Market Law
  • Feb.  17, Pawpaws: Producing a Native ‘Tropical’ Fruit
  • Feb.  24, High Tunnel Winter Greens Research from Dixon Springs
  • March 3, An Introduction to Vermicomposting
  • March 10, Mushroom Production
  • March 17, Getting Started with Backyard Swine
  • March 24, Growing Great Grapes

Presentations will be recorded and the video will be sent to registered participants at a later date.

If you will need an accommodation in order to participate, contact Grant McCarty at Early requests are strongly encouraged.