Spence Farm Foundation programs are created to be hands-on, life changing experiences during which chefs, bakers, food industry professionals, health professionals, and farmers come together on our living laboratory farm. They explore the nature of a sustainable food system through their five senses.  The Foundation works to empower these influencers to change the way society views food and how farmers grow food.

Culinary Arts Courses

Our courses are all about relationships. You might be thinking relationships with people? Ah, yes, and more. Chefs, bakers, food industry professionals, farmers, and health professionals travel from around the Midwest to immerse themselves into the “why” of  building healthy soil, regenerating the environment, and following the path that food takes to arrive at their restaurant door versus the “how.”

We strive to promote sustainability and food system education through innovative and inclusive opportunities by some of the top food system professionals in the country.  Think comparing healthy soil to poor soil, tasting farm fresh eggs to commercial eggs, spinning honey while learning why bees are a vital component to our food system, being part of in-depth conversations that change how you practice, and sleeping in a one-room schoolhouse with 12 new best friends. Spence Farm Foundation is providing opportunities for the influencers to expand their roles in supporting a healthy food system.

“That weekend (at chef camp) was definitely one of the most inspiring, humbling and clarifying moments for me in my career.  What you are doing at the Foundation and the Farm is so much more than just about Spence Farm, and that is truly admirble. Your big picture outlook and willingness to band together like minds and educate and influence the people that will influence the future of food is beyond inspiring. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of what you are doing.” Chef John Asbaty

Cook Well, Live Well, Eat Well

Spence Farm Foundation is proud to be a part of the Cook Well, Live Well, Eat Well program. In 2013, a handful of healthcare providers initiated the Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well course in Peoria, IL. The goal was to help healthcare providers to learn to cook, eat and live in ways that are consistent with how we should be educating patients to live.

This course is coordinated by two knowledgeable and experienced people with strong ties to local nutrition and health issues, Anne Patterson, registered dietitian (of Living Earth Farms in Farmington) and Kathy Corso.

This program is now sponsored by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP). Dr Jeff Leman, a family physician from the Family Medicine Residency at UICOMP, has been involved with this team since the beginning.

Grow and Give Garden

The Grow and Give Garden on Route 24 at Fairbury Fastener and Supply was created to increase food access, promote education, and encourage community. The garden is supported through sponsorships of local businesses, managed by Spence Farm Foundation garden coordinator, Ben Nelson, and volunteer coordinator, Jenny Steffen.  The garden is tended by various children’s groups, such as 4H, church groups, or Boys and Girl Scouts. We know that those that work the soil and harvest the soil are more likely to eat the produce. These groups are able to take home the fruits of their labors. The Grow and Give Garden has shared over 500#’s of produce to the area food pantries and church organizations during its 2016 season.