Promoters hope the classes will bring fresh faces to farming; from 1997 to 2012, the average age of an Illinois farmer rose to 57.8 from 53.2, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The classes also are aimed at establishing small farms that grow fruits and vegetables for Illinoisans to eat, rather than the corn and soybeans that dominate the state’s farmland and are often exported and used for animal feed. 0 Illinois imports more than 90 percent of its food, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture “which seems amazing to me,” said Bill Davison, who helps teach a beginning farming course at the University of Illinois Extension in Urbana. “It’s important to help people realize that we can grow a huge variety of products here in Illinois and it will be fresher than what we get from California.” The Central Illinois Farm Beginnings program costs students $1,250 for nine weeks of seminars as well as workshops and a mentorship with an experienced farmer that altogether last a year. It attracts people from a variety of backgrounds, Hake said. In the past year he has taught two former military women, a refugee from the finance industry and a retired couple. Regardless, they all have enthusiasm for the pastoral lifestyle, he said.
Source: Illinois’ would-be farmers learn from ground up – Chicago Tribune
Before the U.S. airstrikes, there was panic-buying at the gun bazaar. Kurdish men madly snapped up any weapons on offer, fearing the Islamic State fighters would roll into Irbil. “They didn’t even ask for the price, They just said, ‘Please give me a gun,'” recalled dealer Alan Aly, 36, his eyes widening. “This never happened before,” added Aly, who like the other merchants sported an expensive Japanese gold watch. Following the airstrikes, U.S. officials said they would begin weapons supplies to Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga.
More: A buyer’s market at gun bazaar in Kurdish town – Yahoo News