Illinois Extension grows local foods team with new educator

Nick Frillman 

From helping small farmers provide locally grown foods to supporting businesses through difficult times, new University of Illinois Extension staff are dedicated to meeting the needs of communities around the state.

Nick Frillman joined Illinois Extension in January as a local foods and small farms educator serving Woodford, Livingston and McLean counties. He will work to develop and deliver research-based programs, collaborate with small farm producers and partners, and extend university resources in Central Illinois.

“We are excited to have Nick join our team,” said County Extension Director Bobbie Lewis-Sibley. “His educational background, experience in fruit and vegetable production, and ability to speak Spanish is a benefit to our communities.”

A fourth-generation graduate from University of Illinois, Frillman has a B.A. with a double major of political science and Spanish and a M.S. in crop science with a focus on crop production. Before joining Illinois Extension, Frillman completed a field season of CSA and farmers’ market-style production at a small “beyond-organic” vegetable farm in Sandy, Ore.

His research focuses on non-chemical weed control strategies, and establishment, monitoring and harvesting strategies for black currant and other woody perennial crops.

“I enjoy doing research projects that can have powerful and positive consequences for small farms and local businesses,” Frillman said. “As an Extension educator, I am excited that my research and work will serve producers directly.”

Frillman plans to provide programs related to non-chemical weed control strategies, soil fertility, solanaceous vegetable production, cover cropping, and market development strategies for food-grade grain.

“However, what I really want to provide to local farmers is an ear to listen with, and to pivot my priorities toward developing programs that are most in need in Central Illinois.”

Originally from Lake County, Frillman is a self-proclaimed foodie who loves exploring local food spots. He also enjoys hiking, yoga, reading, home brewing his own mead and fruit wine, and spending time with friends and family.

Frillman is based in the Extension office in Bloomington and can be reached at

Extension educators and specialists connect every county in Illinois with university research through in-person and distance-learning programming and other educational outreach. They work to provide businesses, families and agricultural producers with the practical tools and resources needed to solve problems.