The PrairiErth Story

 

The Bishop Family has been farming our 350 acres for about 35 years. Located in the center of Illinois,  we operate a diversified farm and raise a bit of about everything.  Having farmed conventionally, we’ve seen first hand the detrimental effects on the soil and to the farm and rural communities. It’s our goal to play a part in limiting our ecological footprint  by caring for the earth, not just for us, but for future generations as well.


Organic farming is very special to us, we enjoy working with the land and sharing our products with customers, with whom we develop a very special relationship with. Together, we believe organic is more than just a practice, it’s a way to influence a healthy life in our community and provide a sustainable way of producing food.


PrairiErth crops are very diversified and include corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and grass hay. As well as 35 acres of vegetables plus fruit and herbs. Our livestock operation includes 40 pasture-raised beef cattle and pastured, heritage breed pigs.  We find the bond between the land and those who live and work on it to be very important. PrairiErth farm also has an acre of of restored native Illinois prairie!


Meet your farmers:


Farmer Dave: Dave’s expertise is extensive and has his hands in about every area of the operation, His wisdom and experience are the backbone of the entire farm, providing guidance for fertility, growing methods and other farm techniques. Dave is very active in the community sharing his knowledge on subjects such as the local food advocacy, successful diversified farming, using cover crops, and conservation practices.  He regularly travels to Washington DC to advocate for small farms, local food systems and organic farming.



















Farmer Hans: Hans grew up on the farm, left for the big city and then returned to start the vegetable operation. He brought the farm to the Downtown Bloomington Farmer’s market and implemented one of the few USDA Certified Organic CSA’s in central IL!  Growing quickly from just one acre to 35, Hans is seen as a leader in organic farming nationwide. He raises healthy and delicious vegetables year round in our hoop-houses and has been told he grows the best lettuce and carrots! In the last few years he’s also started taking over the grain operations - growing nearly 200 acres of  organic soybeans, corn, wheat and oats in 2020!


Approachable, humble and full of resources and expertise Hans speaks on subjects such as season extension, mechanical weed control,  and using mechanization on a diversified vegetable farm.   Hans was selected as one of the 2012 Slow Food Delegates to Terra Madre representing the United States.






















Farmer Katie: Katie is one of the many PrairiErth Farm successes. Due to the growth of the farm, Katie was able to leave her corporate job of 18 years to farm full time with her family. Together Hans and Katie run the vegetable and grain operations. Katie is responsible for marketing, administration, operations management,  post-harvest handling. She also manages the CSA programs, farmers market, wholesale accounts and community outreach programs. In typical "farmer's wife" fashion she even pulls weeds, cleans the bathroom and makes dinner. She works hard with the community to make sure local and organic food is accessible by all. She speaks on topics such as eating seasonally, food preservation, creating and building your brand, and using social media on the farm.