Two and a half hours southwest of Chicago in the center of Illinois, the Bishop family has been operating PrairiErth Farm near Atlanta, Illinois for 30 years. PrairiErth Farms is one of the inaugural on-farm hubs for the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance.
PrairErth farm is centered on the ideas of diversity, soil health and lasting relationships with their community.
Dave Bishop, his son Hans, and Hans’ wife, Katie, run PrairiErth Farm, a 350-acre farm with a diverse mix of crops and livestock. Crops include certified organic corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and grass hay as well as 25 acres of certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruit, flowers and honey. The farm’s livestock operation includes 40 pasture-raised beef cattle, heritage breed pigs and free-range chicken for eggs. The farm has been certified organic since 2004. They also have an acre of restored native Illinois prairie.
The Bishops view their diverse mix of crops and livestock as the foundation of the healthy soil on their farm. They use cover crops, manure and stabilized compost, rather than chemical fertilizers, to produce bountiful, nutrient-dense crops. Their goal is to play a part in limiting their ecological footprint by caring for the earth to positively impact current and future generations.
The Bishops find the bond between the land and those who live and work on it very important. And, they particularly enjoy sharing their products with customers and developing close relationships with them. They believe that organic farming is more than just a practice, it’s a way to influence healthy lives in their community and provide a sustainable way of producing food.
PrairiErth products can be found all year round at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market, their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, local grocery stores and restaurants as well as through the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance.
In 2017 Dave, Hans and Katie were honored with the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service Farmer of the Year Award.