Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Volunteer & Sponsor of the Week April 30, 2007

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Sponsor of the Week: Genetic ID. Genetic ID in Fairfield made a business donation to LFC to support our program expansion in that community.

This week’s Volunteers are the members of I-Envision, a UI student organization in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, who spent several hours on the farm at Oak Hill Acres in Atalissa. In addition to planting seeds in starter trays, they hugged kittens, puppies, and baby pygmy goats!

Last week’s Volunteers were members of UI Women’s Gymnastics, Women’s Field Hockey, Men’s Track & Field, and Men’s Swimming. The athletes from these teams worked on two area farms on Sunday: Sass Family Farm and Simone’s Plain & Simple. They performed many spring cleaning tasks, including clearing branches and dead plants from gardens and grounds, preparing berry bushes for mulching, and painting children’s play equipment.


A Visit to Fae Ridge Farm in Iowa City April 17, 2007

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Janette Ryan-Busch is the operator of Fae Ridge Farm in Iowa City.

Fae Ridge Farm

5140 Rapid Creek Road NE

Iowa City, IA 52240

Janette Ryan-Busch

While I was visiting her farm a week ago, Janette gave me permission to cuddle some of her adorable Golden Seabright Bantam chicks she recently purchased.

Seabright Bantam Chicks

Bantams are the miniature of the chicken family. There are more chickens in the world than any other type of bird, because people raise them for eggs and meat. Chickens feed on small seeds, herbs and leaves, grubs, insects and even small mammals if they can get them. Janette said the job of her Bantams on the farm will be to eat bugs and look cute for visitors. The eggs she sells come from her large chickens.

Janette is keeping the chicks in a cage with a heat lamp. For Saturday visitors, Janette had the cage in her store, where she sells dozens of homemade products, as well as tools for spinning wool and knitting.

Wool Spinning Tools

Janette loves to spin wool and knit! She shears her sheep, spins the wool, then makes everything from scarfs to hand puppets to sell in her farm store.

Hand Made Scarves

You must visit her farm! You will be amazed by all the wonderful products she makes! The farm is open to the public every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Janette even teaches wool spinning classes. The classes are $65, and that price includes rental of the spinning wheel – so you can take it home and practice!

Hand Made Toys

One of my favorite items is the stick horse.

Hand Made Stick Horse

Outside in the fields, I was able to visit the sheep and lambs who provide Janette with her wool. The sheep and lambs are shorn every six months. Janette prefers to keep her sheep family small. The young males are eaten by the family or sold for meat, while the young females are either kept on her farm, or sold to a different farm that want to raise long-fleeced sheep for wool.

sheep and lamb

I also visited the rabbits, who main job is to be cute, just like the Bantams! The rabbits also have the job of eating garden leftovers.


Since it was a cold, windy day, I didn’t stay outside long enough to get a photograph of her llama “Aldo,” named after the great conservationist Aldo Leopold. Fae Ridge Farm is famous for Aldo, and for the herbs Janette grows and sells to stores and restaurants in Iowa City, such as the New Pioneer Co-op and Atlas Grill.

Thanks, Janette, for running a beautiful, interesting and viable sustainable farm in Iowa City!

Janette Ryan Busch


Volunteer & Sponsor of the Week April 16, 2007

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Volunteers of the Week:  Alison Budnick, Megan Hanlon, Michelle Kayser,  Tristan Jimerson, Jon Lauffer, Brian Baskin, Jeff Manning, Christopher Foster, Stephanie Meller, Richard Mendelson, Michael Harris, John McDonald, Marion Stern, Vivien Shotwell, Kajari GhoshDastidar, and Robert Handler. On Saturday, April 14, this group spent three hours working on ZJ Farm in Solon, which is one of the farms from which LFC purchases produce and meat for clients.

Sponsor of the Week:  The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa City. This month The Haunted Bookshop is holding a special book sale on its front porch. All proceeds of this sale will be given to LFC.


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week April 9, 2007

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Volunteer of the Week:  Chelsea Georgesen, Tim Knab, Robert Handler, & Vivien Shotwell. Chelsea, Tim, Robert, & Vivien volunteered at Abundance CSA Sunday, April 1. Abundance in Fairfield is one of the farms from which LFC purchases CSA shares for its clients.

Sponsors of the Week:  New Pioneer Co-op members. Many generous New Pioneer Co-op members have donated their dividend checks to LFC. This is the third year that the Co-op Board of Directors has recommended LFC as a charity to which members may donate their dividend checks.


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week April 2, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — localfoodsconnection @ 4:59 pm

Volunteer of the Week:  Marlena Schultz, Megan Washburn, Angeline Demakis, and Jonathan Lauffer. Marlena, Megan, Angeline & Jonathan volunteered at Scattergood Farm Sunday, March 25. Scattergood is one of the farms from which LFC purchases CSA shares for its clients.

Sponsor of the Week:  Emily Patton. Emily hosted a fund-raising dinner in her home to benefit LFC. She and her guests contributed enough to enroll a small family in the program this season.