Sunday, July 31, 2016

Early bird discount ends tonight!

Today is the last day to receive the early bird discount on your registration. If you register by midnight, you'll receive $10 off the regular price.

This year's conference is being held at Antiquity Oaks Farm. Most of the sessions are live demos or hands-on. We will be walking around the farm to learn more about fencing and mobile poultry housing options. You'll see how to make tinctures and salves, and you'll walk around and discover what weeds are edible and which ones can be used medicinally. You'll even see the canning and wine making process from beginning to end. Click on the "Schedule" link to learn more.

If you are coming from out of town, you can camp on the farm Friday or Saturday night at no additional charge, but reservations are required. Just contact us to let us know which nights you'll be staying and when we can expect you. There is parking for two RVs and plenty of room for tents.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Schedule and speakers posted for 2016

This year's conference will be held at Antiquity Oaks Farm, and we're breaking away from most of the PowerPoints and lectures and doing more demonstrations and experiential sessions.

That means we'll be walking through the pastures to see and handle the fencing while we talk about which fences work best for which livestock and which ones should be avoided. We'll actually pick up, move, and re-install portable electric fencing.

You'll get up close and personal with four different types of mobile poultry housing, including a new hen-mobile.

We'll be canning seasonal produce, walking through the woods to learn about edible weeds, and making tinctures and salves. We'll even be making wine, so you can see and experience what it means to "rack" the wine or degas it.

You'll also get to see a cob oven and learn how it was built while firing it up and baking in it.

We are still working on the session descriptions, but registration is open. The early bird discount of $79 is available until July 31, but because we're holding the conference on the farm, we have to limit registration to only 30 people, so register early to be sure you'll be able to attend.

Click here to register today!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mark your calendars for the 2016 conference!

This year's conference will be held the weekend after Labor Day -- Saturday, September 10 -- and we will have homesteading workshops on Sunday, September 11. Both days will be held on Antiquity Oaks Farm, northeast of Cornell, IL and west of Odell, IL, off I-55.

Many thanks to everyone who responded to our survey! We are now working on scheduling classes and workshops. If you have anything in particular you'd like to learn about, leave your suggestions in the comment section.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Opinions, please!

We are in the early stages of planning the Fifth Annual Mid-America Homesteading Conference, and we've decided to shake things up a little. The first four conferences were held at Joliet Junior College on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend with post-conference workshops on Sunday at Antiquity Oaks Farm. Each year we received messages from people who said they'd love to come, but they couldn't make it on Labor Day weekend. Others have suggested that we have the conference on an actual homestead. So, we're asking you ...

  • When do you want us to hold the conference?
  • Where?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • How much time do you want to spend learning about each topic?

Click here to take our short 6-question survey and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Are you ready for the Homesteading Conference this weekend?

Yes, the conference is Saturday, which is less than three days away! If you haven't registered yet, you can do it online until 5 a.m. Saturday. You can also pay with cash or credit card at the conference.

Your conference registration fee includes a continental breakfast, buffet lunch, drinks, and snacks. Since we got such rave reviews for last year's lunch, which was catered by Chipotle, we're doing it again. There will be plenty of options for omnivores, vegetarians, gluten free eaters, and other dietary preferences. If you have questions about their food, visit their website for a full list of non-GMO ingredients.

T-Building Entrance
Photo copyright Joliet Junior College
There will be signs, pictured above, starting on Houbolt Road to help you find the conference in T-building. When you walk in the doors, pictured here, you will see the conference center immediately on your left.

Need directions to the college? Click here!

Need a hotel? Click here!

Want to take another look at the schedule and start planning which sessions you want to attend? Click here!

And if you are considering one of our post-conference workshops, there is still space available in both of them, although only three spaces left in the goat workshop. Click here for more info.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Yes, the conference is happening!

Thank you to everyone who registered over the last few days! The conference will be happening. I guess a lot of people are just waiting a little longer to register this year.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be giving you more information about our sessions, our speakers, and the locally grown lunch we're planning, which will be better than ever!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thinking of attending? Please read this!

When the early bird discount deadline passed on Friday, our registration numbers were less than half of what they normally are at that time. Historically we have not had that many registrations in August, so we are considering canceling the conference. We don't know why the registration numbers are so low this year, although we have a few theories. So, we have a couple of favors to ask of you.
  1. If you are planning to come, please register now. If you wait, there may not be a conference because we can't risk the financial loss of moving forward with the current number of attendees. 
  2. If you are not planning to attend, would you mind letting us know why? 
If we have to cancel this year's conference, we will probably not be doing it again in the future because we can't afford planning a conference that doesn't happen. If you have already registered, no worries! Hopefully, we'll get enough registrations to move forward. If not, we will refund everyone's fees 100% through Eventbrite.

What about the workshops? 
The Goat Workshop will continue as scheduled, although the Poultry Processing Workshop will have to be canceled because the speaker is coming from Virginia, and we won't be able to bring her out here just for the workshop.

We will be making a decision by Friday night, so if you were planning to attend, don't delay. Register now!