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Organic Farmer of the Year, Harold Wilken, Shares His Journey and Vision for Sustainable Agriculture
Illinois Ag Connection - 05/26/2023

Harold Wilken, an organic farmer from Illinois, has been honored as the Organic Farmer of the Year for his efforts to inspire future generations to embrace organic farming. Wilken's path to sustainable agriculture was shaped by firsthand experiences of the negative effects associated with conventional farming practices.

Following accidental exposure to herbicides in 1992, which led to health issues, and the tragic loss of his daughter Janie in a car accident, Wilken made the courageous decision to transition his farm to organic practices. Today, Janie's Farm Organic, covering 3,300 acres in Danforth, Illinois, cultivates a diverse array of organic crops and operates Janie's Mill, which processes organic grains into high-quality flour.

Wilken's dedication to soil health is evident in his farm's incorporation of cover crops like red clover and rye, which contribute to the organic vitality of the soil. Looking to the future, Wilken aims to explore reduced tillage or a no-till system to further enhance the farm's sustainability.

Beyond his farm, Wilken collaborates with organic growers across different states, fostering a supportive network of like-minded farmers. Additionally, Janie's Mill offers a wide range of organic flours, meeting the increased demand experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and expanding its distribution nationwide.

As the Organic Farmer of the Year, Harold Wilken strives to leave a lasting impact on the organic farming movement, mentoring fellow farmers and promoting sustainable practices for the production of nutritious organic food.

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