the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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national geographic’s ‘five steps’ won’t feed the world: an iowa farmer’s view

The following essay written by George Naylor was published published by the Huffington Post on May 9, 2014 and is deserving of attention.

George NaylorPicture via National Geographic

The brief article, “A Five-Step Plan to Feed the World” offered by Professor Jonathan Foley in the latest National Geographic magazine, clearly states the stark features of a global society on the brink of overshooting the capacity of the ecosphere. I highly commend Professor Foley and his colleagues for being honest about the depth of the crisis because in the general media, and especially the farm media, one wouldn’t know that anyone should be alarmed at all. Here in Iowa where the landscape is plastered with millions of acres of genetically modified corn and soybeans along with their poisonous herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers polluting our lakes and rivers, our institutions deny that Silent Spring has arrived, let alone that anything needs to change. In fact, politicians and educators of every stripe bow to the god of Norman Borlaug, mesmerized by the World Food Prize mantra that we must feed the world using whatever new technology the chemical giants offer to deal with new problems turning up every day. Alarmingly, looking at the title of Foley’s article, we see the same mantra! Click HERE to read more—–>


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women in sustainable ag!

The National Conference is coming right up. November 6-8, Des Moines, IAwfanlogo_circle1-300x167

Gather with women farmers, advocates and landowners from across the US engaged in healthy food and farming for a unique mix of sharing, learning, field tours, and seasonal food from Midwest women farmers!

  • Keynotes by Danielle Nierenberg of FoodTank, Pakou Hang of the Hmong American Farmers Association, and Kari Hamerschlag of Environmental Working Group.
  • Workshops and panels on dozens of topics ranging from CSA management to soil health to farm bill advocacy.
  • Field tours will be offered to showcase women-owned farms and teach skills such as chain-saw use and prescribed fire.
  • Opportunities to sponsor and exhibit! (The call for proposals is now closed; if you submitted a proposal, you will be notified of its status by one of our staff members.)

Much more HERE


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women in sustainable agriculture national conference

Cultivating Our Food, Farms and Future: 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture
Nov. 6 – 8, 2013 • Des Moines, IAwfanlogo_circle1

Registration now open!

This year marks the first time this biannual conference has been held in the Midwest, and we’re hoping that will encourage women from all over the U.S. to attend.

WFAN is your host organization, with strong participation from partners including the Vermont and Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Networks, MOSES Rural Women’s ProjectMinnesota Institute for Sustainable AgricultureNRCS and more.

Learning, networking, arts and food, and the company of 350 women just as passionate about healthy food and farming as you are. You won’t want to miss it!

Main conference website, with info on our keynote speakers: Danielle Nierenberg of Food Tank, Kari Hamerschlag of Environmental Working Group, and Pakou Hang of the Hmong American Farmers Association.

Agenda Continue reading


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amazing model of land succession

Family bequeaths farm to PFI
By Jean Caspers-Simmet, Published 3/05/2013

Frantzen Three

AMES, Iowa —Tom and Irene Frantzen’s desire to preserve their New Hampton land for generations to come led them to bequeath the 300-acre certified organic farm to Practical Farmers of Iowa.

They announced the transition plan at the recent PFI conference in Ames.

Their voices choking with emotion, the couple offered the details of their bequest.

Tom shared how he was moved by Pope John Paul’s words “the land is yours to be preserved generation upon generation,” when the pontiff visited Des Moines in 1979. As “a busy young farmer,” Tom declined his mother’s invitation to see the pope. He stayed home to paint the barn but listened on the radio.

“I was dumbstruck,” Tom said. “In the years that followed on the farm, we walked by faith and not by sight. We had a direction of stewardship but each step brought uncertainty.” Continue reading


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4th national women in sustainable agriculture conference– call for workshop proposals

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Greetings Greenhorns!!
As a leader in the national young farmer movement, I wanted to take a moment of your time to invite you to submit a proposal to present at the 4th National Women in Sustainable Ag Conference: Cultivating Our Food, Farms and Future. The conference will be held November 6-8, 2013 in Des Moines, IA, hosted by the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.  Presentations are invited in the following tracks:

  • Cultivating our Food/Fiber (production-related topics);
  • Cultivating our Farms (management, human relations and farm transfer topics); and
  • Cultivating our Future (leadership, network development and policy topics).

We are looking for for proposals from farmers, educators, activists and agricultural professionals involved in sustainable agriculture. Women engaged developing healthy, locally based food systems are our target audience.

We anticipate offering a variety of learning opportunities including workshops, discussion panels, and round table sessions. Participatory formats are always encouraged.

Break our your creativity and share your wisdom! Please share with your contacts!

Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013. To submit a proposals go to http://www.wfan.org/2013_national_conf_proposal_form.html. For more information on the conference and submissions visit http://www.wfan.org/2013_National_Conference.html

Hope to see you in November!


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women in sustainable agriculture conference, call for proposals

wfanlogo_circle1The 4th National Women in Sustainable Ag Conference: Cultivating Our Food, Farms and Future will be held November 6-8, 2013 in Des Moines, IA, hosted by the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.

Presentations are invited in the following tracks:

  • Cultivating our Food/Fiber (production-related topics);
  • Cultivating our Farms (management, human relations and farm transfer topics); and
  • Cultivating our Future (leadership, network development and policy topics).

We are looking for for proposals from farmers, educators, activists and agricultural professionals involved in sustainable agriculture. Women engaged developing healthy, locally based food systems are our target audience.

We anticipate offering a variety of learning opportunities including workshops, discussion panels, and round table sessions. Participatory formats are always encouraged.

Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013. To submit a proposals go to http://www.wfan.org/2013_national_conf_proposal_form.html. For more information on the conference and submissions visit http://www.wfan.org/2013_National_Conference.html


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women caring for the land is an important series: nebraska, iowa

to support women landowners making good decisions about stewardship.

Check out the series, particularly if you know a woman landowner who could use a sustainably minded posse.
Join us at an
upcoming WFAN event!

Wednesday, Feb. 6

Women Caring for the LandSM Meeting: Risk Management
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
United Methodist Church
509 4th St.
Silver Creek, NE


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for the students of economics and farming…

That’s what our Crash Course in Economic Sustainability for Non-Economist this summer is about. We want to help those who are responsible for educational programs related to sustainability to gain a sufficient understand of the essential principles of sustainability, so that they will not be hesitant to call for radical economic reform. Check out the Facebook Event Page for details.

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iowa farmhack press!

Farmers brainstorm simple tools to make their work easier
June 20, 2012 in The Gazette

IOWA CITY — Carolyn Scherf wants to harvest her peas while lying down.

On Wednesday, the Solon-based vegetable farmer and 20 other local farmers and engineers attended the first day of Farm Hack Iowa — a two-day event at the Iowa Memorial Union — to discuss simple solutions to small farm issues.

“If you are eight hours into the day and have four hours to go, then something like this might be nice to have,” Scherf said of her group’s initial design for a small, man-powered contraption in which a farmer would lay prone in and harvest crops from above.

Farm hacks — which were started in 2011 by the National Young Farmers’ Coalition — have been held across the Northeast, but Wednesday’s event was the first hack in the Midwest.

read the full article HERE



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farmhack IOWA and the design charette!

We’re very excited for farmack Iowa NEXT WEEK!  Don’t forget to RSVP. Here’s the latest:

Farm Hack Iowa team is way excited for next Wednesday, and we hope you are too.  We wanted to give you all a few updates on the event, and also introduce one aspect of the Farm Hack process: the design charrette.
First, logistics.
In case you have not re-visited the event page recently (here it is) we will now be splitting our time between Iowa City on the U of I campus and Echollective CSA in Mechanicsville.  We have confirmed our location at U of I for Wednesday the 20th:
University of Iowa Memorial Union, Minnesota Room on the 3rd floor.  Find it here: map.  This will NOT be our location for Thursday – the room is booked, but we will be elsewhere in the Memorial Union.
The address for Echollective CSA is:
879 Echo Ave, Mechanicsville IA 52306
We will be caravanning out in the PM of Wednesday.
Second, the Design Charrette!
What is the Design Charrette?
An intensive process for design creation and brainstorming, powered by small group working groups. Continue reading


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farmhack iowa

Farm Hack:Iowa
Wednesday, June 20th + Thursday, June 21st
@ University of Iowa, Iowa City
+ Echollective CSA, Mechanicsville, IA.

Farm Hack seeks to bring together farmers and allies to promote the time-honored agricultural traditions of tinkering, inventing, fixing and improving agricultural tools and machinery that fit the needs of the diverse and creative people working the land today.  This event is not a conference.  It is a place to bring solutions, questions and ideas, and to share and develop designs with your Farm Hack cohorts. Continue reading


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farmhack iowa

20-21 June 2012
MECHANICSVILLE, IOWA
echollective farm, 879 echo ave.
farm hack iowa: inviting farmers, designers, engineers, and tinkerers to come together to share, create, and re-purpose farm tools and technologies. focused on on-farm energy production, electric tractor conversion, biodiesel production from waste oil, micro-wind, micro-hydro, and wood gas/producer gas fuels.
sponsored by the greenhorns, the national young farmer coalition, and new belgium brewing.
for more information, the schedule, presenters, to rsvp, and to get hacking, please click here.
to download the press release, please click here.

 


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iowa farm & rural life poll

From Iowa State University Extension & Outreach:

We are pleased to present you with the 2011 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll Summary Report. This year’s survey was completed during January and February 2011 by 1,276 Iowa farmers. The 2011 Farm Poll survey focused on a range of issues that are important not only to agriculture but to all Iowans. Several questions focused on climate change and what, if anything, should be done about it. Conservation of Iowa’s soil and water is critically important to the long-term health of our economy and environment, and a number of questions examined conservation issues. The report also examines farmer Internet use and national budget priorities. Continue reading


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jobs at the wallace centers of iowa

an Iowa organization with some great agriculture programming.  Wallace.org.

Chef/Food Programs Manager: Culinary arts education with strong interest in local foods; ability to develop food programming & value-added food products. Full-time w/ benefits, $28K to $32K. Based at the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center near Orient, IA. Complete job description & application at www.wallace.org.

Farm Programs Manager: Organically manage 40 acres including production gardens, orchard, prairie, high tunnel hoop houses. Ability to develop appealing educational programming for youth and adults. Full-time w/ benefits, $29K to $34K. Based at the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center near Orient, IA. Complete job description & application at www.wallace.org.

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