Summer Bluegrass Festival to support Farmer-Veteran Coalition

Photo: Heritage Prairie Farm will hold a Red, White and Bluegrass Fundraiser Festival on Saturday, June 9, 3 to 10 p.m. to raise awareness to the Farmer Veteran Coalition and to raise funds to conduct a Veterans To Farmers Workshop. Courtesy Photo

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Building a green economy and assisting veterans as they find new careers and a way to heal … a tall order, but that’s what the Farmer-Veteran Coalition (FVC) aims to do. Heritage Prairie Farm, a sustainable produce farm east of Elburn, is holding a “Red, White Bluegrass Fundraiser Festival” on Saturday, June 9, to benefit the organization.

The festival will feature kids activities and games, a variety of local foods, local beer and wine offerings, and bluegrass music.

“Our Saturdays on the farm are usually dedicated to weddings. We wanted to kick off summer and dedicate that Saturday to families and to the community,” said Daryn Pobanz, director of events at the farm. “It’s an opportunity to come out to the farm on a Saturday.”

Along with the bounce room, mechanical bull and dunk tank, families will have the chance to take part in an old-fashioned sack race and see the donkey, goat and peacock who live on the farm.

Concessions will be available. Families can also purchase tickets to the barbecue buffet prepared by Chef Jeremy Lycan.

The musical headliner is Bubbly Creek Bluegrass, along with Cpt. Captain and Fox Valley Grass.

The Red, White Bluegrass Festival will raise awareness, as well as funds, that Heritage Prairie Farm needs to conduct a Veterans to Farmers Workshop. The workshop will be tailored to Illinois vets who are interested in careers in sustainable agriculture.

“The end plan (for Heritage Prairie Farm) is to host a conference in the late summer and early fall where vets can get connected to agencies for training and jobs,” Pobanz said.

The conference will let returning veterans know of the options for careers in sustainable agriculture. It connects them with educational and training resources, and provides internships and support for the type of farming or food career that fits their interest, location and unique skills and abilities.

Festival tickets are $20 (no charge for children ages 12 and under). Barbecue buffet tickets are $25 ($10 for children ages 12 and under). Tickets are available online at heritageprairiefarm.com or by calling (630) 443-5989.

For more information on FVC, visit www.farmvetco.org.

Farmer-Veteran Coalition seeks to serve veterans who fall into the following categories:
• Vets with or without previous farming experience
• Vets who are pursuing education in agriculture at a 2- or 4-year institution
• Vets looking for work in agriculture and to gain experience before starting a farm of their own
• Disabled vets seeking internships to obtain training and a peaceful environment to heal from war experiences
• Vets who grew up on family farms and came home with war-related injuries