Routes to Farm to present Beginning Farmer of the Year award
at Good Food EXPO in Chicago, March 23rd


CHICAGO, IL — “Good Food Lovers” will gather at the 14th Annual Good Food EXPO at Chicago’s UIC Forum, March 23-24, 2018. Deb Crockett, Executive Director at Angelic Organics Learning Center, will present the 6th Annual Beginning Farmer of the Year Award to one of the four deserving finalists at the ceremony on Friday, March 23. The award is presented by the farmer alliances of Routes to Farm – a project led by Angelic Organics Learning Center (


Routes to Farm helps farmers serving the Chicago foodshed find resources to grow their businesses. A major component of the project is which makes it easy for farmers to find a variety of resources and trainings, but also connects them with the 14 farmer training support organizations that make up the Routes to Farm collaboration.  


“The Routes to Farm Beginning Farmer of the Year Award recognizes the efforts, ingenuity and leadership of beginning farmers in our region.” said Deb Crockett, Executive Director at Angelic Organics Learning Center. “We want to celebrate the successes of beginning farmers and share the stories of how more experienced farmers have helped mentor and guide them. ”  


This year, each Routes to Farm alliance selected a finalist for Beginning Farmer of the Year from the applicants that submitted videos about their farms. From these finalists, the Routes to Farm leadership team has chosen the winner that will be announced at the Good Food EXPO.


Videos of the Beginning Farmer of the Year finalists can be viewed by visiting The videos are inspiring accounts of not only what it takes to start a farm, but the many different ways that people farm in our region. The finalists include Timberfeast, Foxtrot Organic Farm, Cozy Creek Ranch and Sandbox Organics.

“Local and sustainable farmers work hard to grow nutritious food in a way that protects the environment,” said Peg Sheaffer, Program Director at Angelic Organics Learning Center. “This award is an opportunity to celebrate some of the most innovative and talented beginning farmers in the Chicago region and to recognize the important role played by the farmer training organizations that have provided resources and support along the way. “


The Good Food EXPO is open to the general public, offering a variety of workshops and discussions about sustaining and growing Good Food (local, sustainable, humane, fair). Farmers, producers, buyers, schools and industry stakeholders will meet Friday, March 23rd to share knowledge and discuss policy developments. Friday also includes the Good Food Trade Show which will feature more than 100 sustainable food exhibitors. Saturday, March 24th is a day celebrating Good Food! Discover new artisanal goods from more than 150 exhibitors, learn from workshops and chefs demos, and explore family-friendly programming! Routes to Farm and Angelic Organics Learning Center will be tabling together in the exhibition hall on March 23 & 24. Tickets & info at

The Routes to Farm project ( is made possible with the generous support of the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust through Food:Land:Opportunity.




Angelic Organics Learning Center is a regional leader helping urban and rural people build local food systems. We offer opportunities to grow healthy food and a better quality of life, connect with farmers and the land, and learn agricultural and leadership skills. The Learning Center reaches more than 5,000 people each year through our programs at partner farms and urban growing sites. The Learning Center was founded in 1999 as a nonprofit educational partner to Angelic Organics CSA.