Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Prairie Brownie Troop #8715 at Sass Family Farm June 23, 2008

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Local Foods Connection arranged a field trip to Sass Family Farm in Riverside this past Saturday for Prairie Brownie Troop #8715 of the Cedar Rapids College Community School District. Ali Alldredge is the leader of the troop and brought several children to the farm along with their siblings, cousins and mothers.

brownie troop 8715

The brave and inquistive children ate fresh leaf lettuce taken straight from the plant, crushed dill stems in their fingers to release the aroma, and feed grain to pigmy goats. Maury Sass helped Laura Dowd give a tour of the farm to the Brownies, let them pet a baby rabbit, and roused two beautiful peacocks from their naps so that the children could see them. The children learned that male peacocks posses the amazing and colorful tail feathers so as to attract the attention of female peacocks.

brownie troop at sass family farm

The Prairie Brownie Troop has decided to volunteer for Local Foods Connection. This month they will be making small pots of herbs for each client, so that our families can experience growing food even if they don’t have a garden. Leader Ali Alldredge is also the web designer of the site: www.corridorlocavore.com. We are so glad Ali contacted us and look forward to working with the troop for years to come!


UPDATE: Flood Relief June 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 2:57 pm
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Thank you to Marlene Jessop and Francoise Gourronc for much of the following information:

FEMA Information:


Homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes, as well as private non-profit organizations affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding beginning May 25, can get the application process started. The toll-free number is open 24 hours, and online registration is available.

To apply by phone call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)

(TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired) Or apply online at www.fema.gov

IMPORTANT: Please have the following information available when you call:

• A phone number and a reliable alternate in case we need to call you back

• Address of the damaged property

• Brief description of damages

• Social Security number

• Insurance information (if you have insurance)

• Current mailing address

• Bank Account Information (if you are eligible for disaster assistance, you may choose to have the assistance check deposited directly into your bank account)

Government disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate you for your entire loss. If you have insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under your insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other assistance may come in the form of loans.

For information on the process, or to register online, visit http://www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm

A Few Ways to Give:

New Pioneer Co-op is now accepting monetary donations to be routed to the Red Cross’ flood relief efforts. To make a contribution, visit any check-out lane at the Iowa City and Coralville locations.

The University of Iowa has also established a Flood Relief Fund. Visit http://www.givetoiowa.org/floodfund to lend your support. As the UI President Sally Mason explains,

“Gifts of all sizes are needed and appreciated, and our first priority is to assist UI students and employees who have been displaced from their homes by the flooding. After addressing these most immediate human concerns, we will use contributions to the fund (as available) at my discretion to address other areas of flood-related need throughout the campus.”

Go to www.corridorrecovery.org to find more opportunities for contributing to flood relief efforts.

Disease Prevention:

Health departments, health professionals, and the general public are making health inquiries about recent storms and flooding. The purpose of this web page is to highlight some precautions during flooding. Links and resources listed contain a variety of health and enviromental precautions. For any additional questions contact the Iowa Department of Public Health at 515-281-7689

The following links will provide you with additional information:

Additional Resources:

For more information:

· Call 1-800-362-2736

· Environmental Health Concerns contact (515) 281-0921

For International Students:

Assistance in Flood Recovery. OISS is preparing information on resources that can assist international students who have had a loss from the flood. While students here as nonimmigrants (F-1 and J-1) do not qualify for US or State government assistance unless they have US citizen children, other agencies will have assistance available. As soon as we can obtain accurate, complete information we will distribute this via our listserve and put the details on our website. We will also have some limited funds available through the OISS Emergency Fund, and are developing procedures for students who need to apply for this assistance. Please do not contact us about Emergency Funds applications until we announce the process; we will give everyone sufficient time to apply and be considered.

Several groups, both on campus and off campus, have volunteered time and effort to assist students in any way needed—taking you to the store, moving items, cleaning up, or even just watching your children while you take care of necessary business. We are waiting to confirm contact information for these groups and we will send that out in a future message (probably tomorrow) and post this on our website. These are honest, open, and generous offers to help so please contact these volunteers for any type of help; nothing will be too little or big to assist with.

There may be University resources available to all students and that information will be distributed as it is received.

Class Resumption, Withdrawals and Immigration. Summer session classes will resume this coming Monday and all students will be able to complete this term. Classes may be moved—check ISIS to see if that is the case with your schedule. Provost Lopes has announced the continuation of classes and processes for withdrawal should students wish to do so. This is on the web at http://uiflood.blogspot.com/2008/06/interim-provost-lopes-issues-statement.html. Should you choose to withdraw, if you were enrolled in spring 2008 at UI you are not under an immigration obligation for enrollment and thus can withdraw without an immigration problem. If you are new to UI this summer, immigration law does require you to be enrolled, but we have contacted the Department of Homeland Security to request a waiver of that requirement and expect to have an approval given. Students who are new this summer and who plan to withdraw must see an OISS advisor before withdrawing.

Contact Information. Until we reopen, you can contact Scott King via our emergency number, 319-384-2229. When we reopen on Monday, we will have extended advising hours from 9 am to 12 noon and 1 to 4 pm.

International students who are here in F-1 or J-1 status cannot receive assistance from FEMA, unless they have a US citizen child. But assistant is available through private sources. The Crisis Center is providing significant financial support to cover those people and circumstances that FEMA does not cover. Applicants must make an appointment to see a counselor, and right now there is a two week wait for an appointment, which can be made at 351-0140. We will have more information on resources that will be available next week.

Several groups have come forward to volunteer assistance to students and scholars who need help with such things as transportation, cleaning, moving, etc. COGS can be reached at cogs@cogs.org, mark-salisbury@uiowa.edu, or 337-5074; Grace Community Church of North Liberty is offering assistance, call them at 626-2040. Other groups that have volunteered include the Graduate Student Senate, OASIS, and UI Ambassadors. The volunteer groups are meeting this coming Monday at 1 pm in the International Commons next to OISS offices. Anyone who would like to join this meeting to help coordinate efforts is invited to attend.

OISS will reopen Monday with extended advising hours of 9-12 noon and 1-4 pm.


A Message from LFC Director Laura Dowd June 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:33 am
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Dear Friends of Local Foods Connection:

Iowa City is suffering from historic levels of flooding. Here is a link to an Associated Press story:


The main office of Local Foods Connection in Iowa City is dry and is not threatened by flood waters. However, a handful of our families have been displaced by the flood and are at-risk at losing almost everything they own. In addition, some of our volunteers have been forced to evacuate their homes.

All of the CSA farms which serve Local Foods Connection clients in Iowa City are still operating but the farmers are under a great deal of stress. Harvesting in the mud and rain is exhausting and it can damage the soil – their most valuable asset. Some of their crops are suffering from overwatering and are becoming more susceptible to disease and pests, and might even die. In addition, the farmers’ still-unplanted fall crops are threatened. Farmers cannot till wet soil, nor can they plant seeds or seedlings in the water-logged fields. Our farmers need several days of dry, sunny weather to get their operations back in order.

Local Foods Connection also serves families and farmers in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines areas. Both of these cities are also experiencing tremendous flooding. I worry that our whole program in Cedar Rapids might be cancelled this year. Our CSA Farm there, Moser’s Wildwood Gardens, run by Virginia and Marion Moser, began suffering from the rainy spring nearly two months ago and has not yet been able to even start its CSA. The Center for Fit Families at Mercy Hospital is our main contact in Cedar Rapids and we do not know yet how much they have suffered from the floods.

Our mission at Local Foods Connection is to serve sustainable ag farmers and low-income families. In the coming days, we hope to find news ways to help our friends suffering from the flooding. If you have needs or suggestions for how we can help, please email or call our office.

Laura Dowd, Executive Director

Contact via email

(319) 338-2010


PFI Field Day at ZJ Farms (5/29/08) June 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 1:43 pm
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News Release
For Immediate Release
June 12, 2008

Contact: Sally Worley, Practical Farmers of Iowa, (515) 232-5661
Susan Jutz, (319)929-5032

Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day will Highlight Organic Vegetable Seed Treatment, Farmer Networking Group, and Conservation Security Program

Susan Jutz, owner of ZJ Farms, is hosting a Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day at her farm near Solon on June 29 at 5:00 p.m. The field day will involve a tour with a light dinner and discussion to follow. The event will include an organic essential oil seed treatment demonstration for peas. Traci Bruckner from Center for Rural Affairs will give a presentation about the new Conservation Security Program (CSP). Susan Jutz will talk about an effort funded by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) to create a farmer-led networking group in Eastern Iowa.

“More and more people are looking for food that is locally grown. We don’t have enough farmers to grow the food, specifically the vegetables to meet this expanding market demand,” said Susan. “The SARE project will create a farmer-led networking group where experienced farmers will provide one-on-one support to new or transitioning farmers. These groups will help new and potential growers be successful thus helping supply the growing demand for local food.” If you are interested in joining the farmer support group, attend the field day or contact Susan at (319) 929-5032.

ZJ Farms is an 80-acre diversified farm. Susan direct markets organically raised lambs from a 45-ewe flock, direct markets organically raised hogs, and is a principal partner and vegetable grower for a Community Supported Agriculture program in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area that serves 250 members.

Directions to ZF Farms: 5025 120th St, Solon. From Solon, 3 miles north on Hwy1; 3 miles east on 120th St.; large white house and barn beside road. Space for tents available.

This field day is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Sustaining sponsors for Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Days are the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Pork Producers Association, American Natural Soy, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, Midwest Organic Services Association, Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, and the CROPP Cooperative of Organic Valley/ Organic Prairie Family of Farms. Major sponsors for the Field Days are Wheatsfield Cooperative Natural Foods Grocery, Hubbard Feeds, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council, King Corn and Mosaic Films, and the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

PFI is a non-profit sustainable agriculture group dedicated to farming that is profitable, environmentally sound, and healthy for consumers and communities. Founded in 1985, PFI has over 700 farmer and non-farmer members throughout Iowa. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.


Iowa Flooding – How to Help and Get Help June 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:17 am


The Press-Citizen • June 10, 2008


• Residents needing help with sandbagging for their property can call 887-6202. The same number can be called for information on location of sandbags. This phone in City Hall will be answered 24 hours a day until further notice.

Red Cross Disaster Assistance: The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Bldg. A at the Johnson County fairgrounds (3149 Old Highway 218 So.). This shelter offers food and housing to those displaced by flooding. The shelter also accepts pet animals on an emergency basis (coordinated by the Iowa City Animal Care Division).

• The MidAmerican Energy phone number to call for shut-offs and other issues is 1-888-427-5632 (answered 24/7).

• Residents in flood-prone areas may wish to seek alternative shelter. When leaving a home prior to a flood, it is important to shut off the power and place a sand bag over the floor drain in the lower level. The City does not have the resources to assist with moving personal belongings.

• The city of Iowa City has sand and sand bags available at the Sand Lake Facility near the intersection of South Gilbert Street and McCollister Boulevard. The City has also placed sand and sandbags at the east end of Manor Drive and near the west end of Taft Speedway.

To Help:

As of Tuesday, June 10 at noon, the City of Iowa City was encouraging individuals who want to help to:

Wish to Sandbag?
Go to area(s) urgently in need:  Idyllwild Condos; Parkview Church, both near 15 Foster Rd.; (take I-80 exit 244- open to Foster Rd.); Thatcher & Baculis Mobile Home Parks at 2254 S. Riverside Dr.; commercial area of S. Gilbert so. of Hwy. 6; 111 Stevens Dr.; Commercial Dr. area.  Also go to Dog Park (same route as to church above) to help sandbag City wells. Bring gloves and shovel if you have them.

For updates, head to the City of Iowa City Flood Watch page:



Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:10 am

Volunteers of the Week: Laura Britigan and Natalia Espina. Laura and Natalia help LFC translate documents into Spanish and help us talk with our Spanish speaking clients.

Sponsor of the Week: Frontier Natural Herbs donated wonderful spice gift bags, containing bottles of four different spices, to each LFC client.

Thank you for your support!


LFC June Newsletter June 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:51 am
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In case you didn’t receive the Local Foods Connection June Newsletter in your inbox, here it is! And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any more newsletters, you can subscribe to the LFC listserv by clicking here and including your subscriber info.

Dear Friends of Local Foods Connection:

1. Help Local Foods Connection by befriending one of our 2008 families
2. Donate to LFC with a click of a mouse
3. Send your news to LFC

1. Help Local Foods Connection by adopting one of our 2008 families!

You can provide a tremendous service to Local Foods Connection by volunteering
only a few hours a month! Please consider becoming part of the support system
for one of our client families this year. As a “Family Friend” volunteer,
you will be responsible for calling the family once a week. During the
conversation, you can:

-Remind them to pick up their CSA share or ask if they have picked up their CSA
-Ask if they recognize all the vegetables in the CSA share
-Ask if they need recipe ideas
-Provide them encouragement for completing any educational activities they have
-Be enthusiastic!

We need about 40 volunteers. You will be given a short training session. You
can volunteer from any location – home or school or wherever you have a phone
and a few minutes of time.

2. Donate to LFC with the click of a mouse

Would you make one extra click to provide fresh local food to low-income

More than 700 name-brand stores are now participating in GoodShop.com and will
donate to up to 30% of each purchase to the charity that you select. The next
time you buy a new pair of shoes, book, computer, birthday present, flowers,
plane ticket or just about anything else, go to GoodShop.com and then click
over to your favorite store.

Yes, it’s that easy! Go to www.goodshop.com. Verify “Local Foods
Connection” under “Who do you goodshop for?”

PS. And don’t forget to use GoodSearch.com the next time you search the
Internet. This Yahoo-powered search engine donates about a penny per search to
your favorite cause!

Go to www.goodsearch.com. Verify “Local Foods Connection” under “Who do
you goodsearch for?”

3. Send your news to LFC

If this email newsletter has made it to your inbox, that means that Local Foods
Connection has successfully registered with a new email subscription service
called “Electric Embers.” With this service, we hope to provide you with
regular news about LFC events and opportunities. If you would like to request
that we send a notice about your event or organization to our list, just send
it on to Laura’s attention.