Register now for Galena, Illinois workshop | July 20-22, 2020

Join the Farmer-Led Conversation

Can we reduce crop inputs and increase profits through soil health?

In Jo Daviess County, Illinois, a group of farmers meets monthly to ask: Can we reduce crop inputs and increase profits through soil health? They study, experiment, and share what works, what doesn’t, and what they’re learning. And they ask: How do we bring more people into this conversation?  This workshop is for them, for their neighbors, and for all groups in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin who are asking these questions. And it’s for you, if you want to start this conversation where you live.


“This workshop is our opportunity to combine our knowledge and answer the questions, “Can we reduce inputs and increase profits on our farms through soil health? And, if so, how?” — Mel Gratton, Jo Daviess Co. Soil & Water Health Coalition Chair

This is a different kind of workshop—interactive, focused and professionally facilitated, with plenty of time to share what you’re doing, ask questions, and connect with people from across the Upper Mississippi River Basin who share your goals. There are no lectures. This is grassroots leadership and learning, designed to strengthen you and shape living solutions for your unique place.

We will wade into this big, complex topic together. You’ll learn from producers, landowners and community partners who are working to dramatically improve soil health, farms, fish habitat, and water quality close to home. You’ll hear real-life project and community stories, learn to listen in new ways, gain knowledge, ask questions, enjoy casual conversation, reflect, and identify practical next steps for your local work.

Participants leave workshops with fresh perspectives and a thoughtful action plan for their own work. Some stay in touch afterward, to support each others’ work. Many come back year after year to share progress and gain insights for a next phase.

Watershed Leaders Network & Jo Daviess County Soil & Water Health Coalition invite:

•  Farmers
•  Non-farming landowners
•  Women landowners
•  Farm managers
•  Crop advisors
•  Watershed groups
•  Ag retailers
•  Excavators
•  Bankers
•  Realtors
•  Conservation partners
•  Policy makers
•  All who want to start a local conversation on this topic

We ask all who participate to listen, speak respectfully, and leave outside agendas at the door.

We will meet at Chestnut Mountain Resort, 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Road, Galena, Illinois, overlooking the Mississippi River. This is a comfortable place with hotel rooms on site for out-of-state participants.

Doors open at 1 p.m. Monday, July 20, with the first session starting at 1:30 p.m. We meet into the evening Monday, all day Tuesday, and finish at noon on Wednesday, July 22. We realize this is a significant investment of time, but ask you to fully enter the experience and participate in all sessions without distraction, trusting that the process will result in focus and thoughtful action later. You will be active, and some sessions will be outdoors as weather permits.

The registration fee of $85 includes a cocktail reception Monday night; breakfast, lunch and dinner on Tuesday; and a light breakfast on Wednesday. Participants will also receive a copy of Gabe Brown’s book, “Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture.”


Call 800-397-1320 to reserve a room at Chestnut Mountain. A block of rooms has been reserved for this event ($89 -109/night based on room capacity). Mention Watershed Leaders Network. Consider extending your stay, as there are summer activities at Chestnut Mountain, and there’s much to enjoy in beautiful Jo Daviess County and historic Galena. See local visitor information here.

Questions about Jo Daviess County Soil & Water Health Coalition?
Mel Gratton
Chair, Jo Daviess County Soil & Water Health Coalition

Program questions?
Nancy North
Watershed Leaders Network Lead
Fishers & Farmers Partnership For the Upper Mississippi River Basin