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Putting a few extra acres to work can bring in additional income, provide an opportunity to experiment with a new enterprise, or develop an interest or hobby for its educational or entertainment value, according to a University of Illinois Extension local foods and small farms educator.

“How to get started is the question,” said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant.

The University of Illinois Extension local foods and small farms team is sponsoring a series of workshops on a variety of topics to help people who have a few acres learn ways that they can put them to use.

“Putting Small Acres to Work” workshops will be offered between Nov. 1 and March 7 at locations throughout Illinois. Topics and presenters will vary at each location, but will include: season extension, vegetable and fruit production, livestock production, choosing scale-appropriate equipment, soil health, beekeeping, herb production, agroforestry, organic production, integrated pest management, and composting.

“You don’t have to own hundreds of acres to create a profitable business,” Cavanaugh-Grant said. “We developed these workshops to help people realize the possibilities that a few acres can provide.”

Workshops will be held on the following dates:

  • Nov. 1 -- Sauk Valley Community College, Dixon
  • Dec. 6 -- NIU Rockford Meeting and Conference Center, Rockford
  • Dec. 6 --Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center at Parkland College, Champaign
  • Jan. 21 -- Franklin County Extension Office, Benton
  • Feb. 14 -- John Wood Community College, Quincy
  • March 7 - Lincoln Land Community College, Hillsboro

Details and registration are available online at or by contacting Cavanaugh-Grant at 217-782-4617 or

Source: Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator

For more information on University of Illinois Unit 19 programming and to read more helpful articles, visit our website at or call us at (217)345-7034.

David Shiley is a University of Illinois Extension educator specializing in local food systems and small farms.



Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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