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McHenry County College Launches Speaker Series on Food Economy, Farming January 26

[Tuesday, January 14, 2020]

McHenry County College (MCC) announces an exciting speaker series hosted by its new Center for Agrarian Learning, called Forefront: Ideas in Food and Farming. The series features innovative thinkers and doers in the food and farm economy, and is an opportunity for farmers, land owners, chefs, local food enthusiasts, and others interested in the food economy to dive deep into the how and why of food production.

The series kicks off on Sunday, January 26 at 10 a.m. with "Lean Farming," an exploration of tips that lean farming expert Ben Hartman uses to earn a comfortable living farming on less than one acre of land. Attendees will review principles of organization and learn how to implement a process of continuous improvement to achieve success in productions of any size. The morning session is free to attend. An immersive workshop geared toward market growers will follow the morning session from 12:00 p.m.– 4:30 p.m., and will explore in-depth lean farming concepts related to soil building, compost-making, greenhouse construction, and CBD hemp production. The hands-on, in-depth workshop costs $59 to attend.

Upcoming sessions include "Rotational Grazing" on February 23; "Whole Grain Revolution" on March 29; and "Soil Sisters: How Women Transform Our Food System" on April 26.

MCC’s Center for Agrarian Learning launched in 2019 as a resource hub designed to connect growers to the people and ideas they need to succeed via noncredit classes, seminars, and technical assistance.

"By exploring the challenges facing local farmers, food-based businesses, and agricultural entrepreneurs, we’re able to deliver tangible solutions in the form of training," said Sheri Doyel, director of the Center for Agrarian Learning. "Providing easy access to the latest technologies, tips, and tools in the industry will support the vital agricultural businesses in our community and help them to stay ahead of the curve."

In addition to the Center for Agrarian Learning, the college will soon be launching a degree in Entrepreneurial Agriculture, which will help aspiring students or existing agricultural business owners learn the skills they’ll need to grow a successful business. 

"Agriculture plays an extremely important role within McHenry County," said Dr. Clint Gabbard, president of MCC. "This resource allows us to deliver quality education to agricultural entrepreneurs in our community and provide a platform for engagement across the food and farming spectrum."

All Forefront sessions will be held in the Luecht Auditorium at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake. Speaker sessions are free and open to the public. To register and learn more about all upcoming presentations, visit

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