Photo #1: On a chilly December Sunday, land seekers and landowners from northern Illinois gathered at Duke’s Alehouse in Crystal Lake for the 5th annual Common Ground event, hosted by Illinois FarmLink, Angelic Organics Learning Center, Center for Agrarian Learning, Northern Illinois Young Farmers, and The Land Conservancy of McHenry County with generous support from Compeer.

Photo #2: Steve Omale, a beginning farmer, expressed his passion for goats and his desire to find a plot of land in McHenry County where he can start grazing a herd. At its core, Common Ground is a community building event where land seekers, landowners, and land access advocates can come together and hear each other’s stories. At Illinois FarmLink, we believe these kind of in-person connections are so important for providing the continued inspiration and motivation necessary for each person’s land access journey.

Photo #3: We heard land access stories from Beatrice Kamau (Multiple Harvest LLC.) and Shannon Mingalone (Ramshackle Farm). Then land seekers and landowners had a chance to share their own stories in a fast-paced icebreaker activity. David Evans from Wild Roots Farm in Harvard attended the event wearing two hats – farmer and landowner. He was curious to learn more about succession and what the future of his farm might hold.