the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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beginning woman farmer mentorship opportunity in iowa


The Women, Food and Agriculture Network is accepting applications for their Harvesting Our Potential program, an 8-10 week internship for women who are interested in farming/raising food or food products. The purpose of the program is to empower women who want to farm by providing them on-farm experience and a network of other women in food and agriculture. There is no cost to the intern, and they receive a small stipend of $500 if they complete the program and their evaluation forms (which are quite simple).  They work with a female farmer who has been farming for at least 5 years. The intern would fill out an application, which allows them to share the type of farming they are interested in, then they will be matched with the best mentor for their interests.  We have mentors across Iowa.

There are opportunities for the women to live on-farm or, if their mentor is close by, they can drive to the farm on their scheduled workdays.  They set up goals with their mentor, and then track those goals over the course of the time they are involved.

To apply to be a mentee, click HERE!
Find more on the Harvesting Our Potential program and WFAN by clicking HERE.
Thanks to Anna Johnson for sharing this info with us!

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versaland permaculture research farm seeks interns


Versaland is a 145-acre permaculture research farm in Iowa City, Iowa. Science-focused and early stage, Versaland (with you!) will plant 12,000+ trees in the 2016 season while continuing to develop our ponds, earthworks and Keyline installations.

Versaland operates custom-built machinery, an electric tractor and many other farm innovations.

Hosting skill-specific workshops throughout the season including a Permaculture Design Course and leading in GPS Keyline design, interns will gain a lifetime of experience.

Hacker, writer, artist, or engineer, we’re looking for talented folks who will tinker with the future of agriculture.

Smart and ambitious folks, bring the fury. To find out more, click HERE!

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soil and water conservation policy conference november 19 and 20 at drake university

The Drake University Agricultural Law Center, in cooperation with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will host a two-day, state-wide conference on soil and water conservation policy. The conference will bring together individuals and organizations working to protect Iowa’s soil and water resources to consider the role of policy and law in shaping our stewardship efforts.
More than 30 speakers are scheduled for the event. The conference will also include a dinner and awards ceremony honoring individuals for their leadership as Stewards of Iowa’s Land. To view the program and register click HERE.
Registration fees:
Early bird (through Oct. 19) – $125
Regular (after Oct. 19) – $150

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iowa city: the next ecopolis??

Ecopolis Iowa City: Community Forum Launches Regenerative City Initiative

by Jeff Briggers, Huffington Post

image via

A broad range of community members in Iowa City, Iowa kicked off the “Ecopolis Forum” today, a groundbreaking series of monthly winter conversations on creating the first regenerative city of the arts, food, renewable energy, and commerce in the heartland.

Featuring nationally acclaimed farmer and permaculture expert Grant Schultz, the founder of Versaland in rural Iowa City, the first event included a multimedia show on local farm, food and permaculture possibilities for the river town, with a brief showcase on regenerative city efforts in Germany and Australia.

“An Ecopolis cycles resources,” Schultz said to a crowd meeting at the downtown business, Beadology. “Private enterprise and public services can always agree, efficiency centers on cycling resources.”

Laying out a design for a regenerative showcase in the riverfront district of Iowa’s former historic capital, which gained national attention for its community response torecord flooding in 2008, Schultz called on participants to rethink Iowa City’s sense of place and nature, as well as imported sources of food, sprawling transport systems, and an aging grid dependent largely on fossil fuel energy and subsequent waste in enduring periods of record drought, flooding and changing climate.

Schultz issued a timely challenge to creative cities like Iowa City to take the lead in local food, farm, energy and transportation initiatives that positively enhance rather than undermine our environment.

“By April, 2016, we need 90% of the residents of Iowa City to have access to a community garden plot within 16 blocks (one mile) of their residence,” Schultz said. “Growing food is a human right.”

Read the rest of the article HERE!

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stong feelings in iowa on both sides of the gmo labeling debate

The debate really hasn’t occurred in Iowa in a prominent way, in part because of the prevalence of GMOs in Iowa agriculture and because of the clout that such agribusinesses as DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto wield in this state. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t strong feelings in Iowa on both sides of the GMO labeling debate. Click to read the rest of this editorial in the Des Moines Register—>

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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