agrarian entrepreneurs examining plants

Center for Agrarian Learning

Supporting the future food economy

Food is central to our well-being, our environment, our shared sense of community. Food is also a serious business: the food economy—the growing, distribution, and marketing of food—offers a lot of opportunities for anyone who wants to make a real difference. Whether you're new to farming, or the land has been held by your family for generations, we can help you launch, or diversify, or transition your business. At the Center for Agrarian Learning (CAL), we teach, engage, and inspire entrepreneurs by sharing the latest growing and business practices to keep your farms sustainable, productive, and profitable.

Agriculture Workshops and Events

We offer agriculture workshops and events for businesses at all stages whether you need help navigating legal issues, identifying what you need to scale up for wholesale markets, or determining when you need a loan to grow your business.

If you're interested in starting a food business in Illinois, attend a workshop to learn Illinois food industry regulations and more from the Illinois Small Business Development Center in partnership with the Center for Agrarian Learning. $10 registration fee. See Starting a Food Business workshop dates and registration »

Curious about past workshops and events? See past workshops and events

Forefront: Ideas in Food and Farming

Forefront: Ideas in Food and Farming is intended for farmers, landowners, local food enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the food economy. We're showcasing entrepreneurs who are solving problems with their passion and skills and sharing the how and the why of it all. Free to attend, but registration is required.

Curious about Forefront topics and speakers? See past Forefront topics and speakers

Degrees and Certificates

The Entrepreneurial Agriculture AAS degree combines food production skills with business and entrepreneurship foundations to equip you with skills and knowledge for running your own farm business, employment in various aspects of the food system, or transferring to a four-year institution to continue your education. Stackable certificates in entrepreneurial agriculture production, and entrepreneurial agriculture business and marketing are also available.

The Horticulture AAS degree covers the essentials of hydroponics and aquaponics, floral and landscape design, plant biology, and sustainable practices. You can choose electives in electives in floral design, greenhouse, landscape, and urban agriculture. Stackable certificates in floral design, entrepreneurial agriculture production, and entrepreneurial agriculture business and marketing are also available.

Season Extension with Broadview Farm and Gardens in Marengo

Why Buy Local? with Duke's Alehouse in Crystal Lake

Regenerative Agriculture with Terra Vitae Farms in Woodstock