Annie’s Project Turns 10
There are more women involved with the business of farming than ever before. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about “Annie’s Project,” a program designed by an Illinois woman in memory of her mother that works to empower female farmers.
Annie Kohlhagen-Fleck was working as school teacher when she met her husband Frank in the mid-1940’s. He was a farmer, and she spent her life from the time they married in 1947 until her death in 2007 caring for milk cows and chickens and raising her four children. She learned about farming, money management and crop insurance through trial and error, what her daughter Ruth Hambleton calls “the hard way” not having grown up on a farm or having access to resources to help guide her through the complicated world of crop insurance and bookkeeping.
In 2003, Ruth founded Annie’s Project, in honor of her mother, to help women learn to manage farming operations alongside other women.
This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Ruth about Annie’s story, the project and how it’s helped empower more women to become stakeholders in agriculture. Stephanie Butcher, who manages the business for her family’s 2200 acre grain operation in Mt. Auburn, Illinois, also joins our conversation. She says taking Annie’s Project classes have been invaluable in helping her get involved with farming and learning about agriculture marketing and business. She took over the books and the business side of running her family’s farm in 2008 with her husband after enrolling in an Annie’s Project class. Even though she grew up on a farm, she says she didn’t learn anything about the business aspect of farming.
Are you a female farmer? What appeals to you about the farming lifestyle? How did you learn about life on the farm? We’d love to hear from you this hour. Find us on Facebook or send us a tweet @Focus580.
How we think about food, how we prepare food and how we eat food is constantly changing. It’s mind-blowing to think about how much food changes over the course of a decade, let alone several hundred years. What are your favorite dinner dishes? Have you ever wondered how they evolved into the recipes you know and love? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with author William Sitwell about the history of food….and when we say history, we mean deep history. We’ll go back to the 1400’s when royals were eating feasts prepared from recipes calling for an entire pig, and we’ll learn more about when the fork became a fixture in Western culture.
Why 100 recipes, you ask? We’ll find out during this episode of Focus.
There’s what some call a wine movement happening through the Midwest, and Illinois is definitely following suit. Midwest wine makers and grape growers have seen a huge increase in business in the last decade, and this hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why. Bradley Beam, an enologist with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vinters Association will join us to talk about what makes an Illinois wine and Illinois wine and where you can go to find the perfect one for you. Tony Jacobson, a winemaker at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount also joins us. We’ll talk about new research being done to enable vineyards to grow more grapes in a colder climate, and he’ll walk us through the wine making process from start to finish.
Have you visited a winery or vineyard in Illinois? What wines do you recommend? Maybe you have questions about why locally produced wines are sometimes hard to come by… We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!