The Seasons on Henry’s Farm

The first full morning back in town after my trip to the IFMA conference was satisfyingly spent on actual labor: helping my pals at Crescent City Books get the store moved to the new location by shelving their cooking and gardening sections. Afterwards, I came back to the Quarter to make a pizza with as many farmers market ingredients as could be crammed on, sided by local ale and all to be enjoyed in the sunny and warm courtyard. As background music from the drums and horns of the pickup band always working for tourists dollars in Jackson Square wafted over the wall, I continued to read a wonderful farming book authored by Terra Brockman, founder of The Land Connection, Illinois family farmhand, and clearly, top-notch writer.


I met Terra a few years back at the first IFMA-led Illinois farmers market conference and found her to be one of those doers who think with absolute clarity about the ecological and human impacts of the industrial agricultural age. That type of intellect,  paired with that determined pioneer spirit for building logical new systems, is always encouraging to find in one’s colleagues. I knew that since that conference she had put TLC in other capable hands (as I saw through their presentations and available materials at this year’s conference) and had herself gone back to working with her family farm and written this highly regarded book. So, I was pleased to see it available for purchase at the TLC table this year.

If you want to know what it it means for a direct-marketing family farm in a commodity state to live and work in service to their land and its seasons, as well as to their ancestors and their present community, I suggest you pick up her book, “The Seasons on Henry’s Farm.” It is absorbing, beautifully written and organized to give you a snapshot of the life of a farm, season by season, plant by plant, decision by decision. Like any good farmer, any talk of the food being grown also includes recipes and the ones in the book are so good that I dogeared almost every page with one. I think it should be required reading for every grower, marketgoer, market manager and every municipal and regional leader. In other words, everyone interested in food sovereignty and those influencing its future.


Welcome Janie Maxwell to the market world

Although I will miss working regularly with my funny, indefatigable and razor-sharp pal Pat Stieran, I know some of the IFMA board well enough to know that they picked a worthy successor to her. Looking forward to working with Janie and seeing this great association continue to grow.

The Illinois Farmers Market Association Board of Directors is pleased to announce Jane Maxwell, as its new executive director.  Janie, as she prefers to be called, started on October 26 and is excited to be a part of the IFMA. She is very passionate about expanding local food opportunities and promoting Illinois farmers markets.

As a Registered Dietitian Janie believes strongly in the health value of local food and advocates for local food by building systems that highlight the economic value of markets to communities and farmers.

In her most recent work with Making Kane County Fit for Kids, as a part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Grant, Fit for Kids became a nationally recognized leader in creating a culture of health in part by improving access to healthy food.

Janie brings a background in managing grants and in nonprofit management having managed non-profit initiatives and programs.  She is also a nutrition instructor at Northern Illinois University, Department of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences.

Board President Natalie Kenny-Marquez stated “We are so excited to have Janie at the helm, she is hard at work already with her grant management skills due to the USDA grants that IFMA recently received.” Please join me in welcoming Janie and you can contact her