Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

LFC News July 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 12:14 pm
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1. LFC needs your help: At Hooverfest or in the office

2. Flood fundraiser at The Red Avocado restaurant

3. Johnson County land conservation meetings and vote

4. PFI fundraiser dinner

1. Volunteer for Local Foods Connection

email Laura at: localfoodsconnection@yahoo.com or call (319) 338-2010

Opportunity 1: Join LFC this Saturday, August 2 at Hooverfest in West Branch. Have fun and volunteer! We need help setting up our booth (between 10:00 a.m. and noon); staffing the booth (between noon and 5:00 p.m.); and taking down the booth (between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.). Come for one hour or the whole afternoon! At the booth, we will be handing out brochures about our organization, showing off photographs of our activities, and selling cookbooks and t-shirts.

Opportunity 2: Work in LFC’s office. LFC needs office help now through mid-September. Work anywhere from 5 hours to 20 hours a week. We need help filing, preparing mailings, and misc. typing.

2. The Red Avocado Flood Relief Fundraiser!


The Red Avocado is Iowa City’s only all-organic restaurant. Their menu is vegan! Dave Burt, owner, hosts a “Last Wednesday Fundraiser” every month. For July, the donations will go toward flood victims in the local area. Come for dinner on July 30, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. to support this worthy cause. They will donate 50% of their profit from the evening.

3. Learn about a very important Johnson County land conservation issue.

A series of informational meetings will be held to receive input from the public on the Johnson County Conservation Board’s proposed $20 million Conservation Bond Issue Ballot Measure for land protection. The measure will be put before the voters of Johnson County on the November 4, 2008, General Election Ballot. Conservation Board members and staff will be on hand to give an overview of the proposal, goals and objectives and Mark Ackelson, President of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, will facilitate the meetings.

See the “Spring 2008” issue of the Conservation Newsletter:


4. A benefit for Practical Farmers of Iowa


Local food enthusiasts are invited to a Practical Farmers of Iowa farm tour and dinner on Saturday, August 2. The tour will commence at 4:00 p.m. at the farm of Eric and Ann Franzenburg. Eric and Ann raise 120 acres of certified organic medicinal herbs on a neighboring farm. Tour participants will see their new enterprises: tomatoes and flowers in high tunnels.

Dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. in the beautiful restored barn clubhouse at Tara Hills Country Club. Chef Ben Halperin of Augusta Restaurant will preside over a gourmet meal featuring food from local farmers. Recently relocated from New Orleans, Ben has been making waves with his new restaurant in Oxford. His restaurant, serving “comfort food with a Cajun twist,” has become a destination place for many.

Saturday August 2

Franzenburg Farm, Tara Hills Country Club, Van Horne

RSVP to Cedar Johnson at cedar@practicalfarmers.org, (515) 232-5661

Tickets start at $50


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week July 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 2:23 pm
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Volunteer of the Week: Sarah Ertz. Sarah is preparing dishes with local vegetables for the Domestic Violence Shelter once a week. She is also working with Field to Family, a celebration of local food and culinary excellence.

Sponsor of the Week: New Pioneer Co-op Members. Since March, members of the New Pioneer Co-op have been donating their dividend checks to LFC. So far, over 1,300 members have donated over $16,000. Thank you!


LFC in Farmers’ Markets Today! …and Who Am I? July 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 3:30 pm

Local Foods Connection has been receiving lots of good press this summer. You may have read the blog post here about the LFC feature that appeared in Today’s Dietitian last month. This month, be sure to pick up a copy of the relatively new journal Farmers’ Markets Today for more information about LFC.

The Farmers’ Markets Today feature, entitled “Local Foods Connection Combats Hunger and Supports Small Farmers” was written by yours truly and points to the many linkages between Local Foods Connection, farmers’ markets, local farmers, and low-income individuals. We’re thrilled that the folks at Farmers’ Markets Today were interested in spreading the news of a program like LFC in their pages.

July/August Farmers' Markets Today

Speaking of “yours truly,” though, this seems like a good chance to offer a brief introduction.

We’ve realized that because Local Foods Connection is so closely connected to the work of Laura Dowd – and for good reason! – many of our readers assume that Laura maintains the LFC blog. While Laura does write occasional posts, she has wisely delegated this task to one of LFC’s many volunteers so that she can continue to focus on the millions of other tasks she has to accomplish on a weekly basis. And that volunteer happens to be me – Hello!

My name is Caroline Gottschalk-Druschke and I have been volunteering for Local Foods Connection for about a year now. I lived in Iowa City during the 1990s, but I actually heard about LFC when I was living in Chicago working on a PhD in rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I was searching the Local Harvest database for CSAs in the Iowa City area, and I stumbled across the listing for Local Foods Connection.

Happily for me, but sadly for the world, LFC’s description made it stick out like a sore thumb! I had never heard of a program whose purpose was, as the LFC description explains, to “purchase[] produce, bread, eggs, meat and other products from local earth-friendly farms and donate[] these goods to families who cannot afford such nutritious, tasty and fresh food… With your support, we assist families in need of a helping hand, strengthen our local foods network and empower the farmers who live and work just outside of your neighborhood.”

Wow! I immediately contacted Laura and offered to help her in any way that I could. She invited me to take over the blog after that, which seemed like a natural fit since it didn’t require being on site.

That was back in November and now, some nine months later, I’m still posting to the blog, spreading the word about LFC, and planning a move back to Iowa! My husband, Drew, and I will be back in Iowa City at the end of this month, where I will begin working on my field-based dissertation about – not surprisingly – local food, food security, and sustainable agriculture. Keep your eyes open for a post about my dissertation and school work and how it relates to LFC and to you! More to come on that, but, for now, thank you for reading!


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week July 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 3:24 pm
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Volunteer of the Week: Francoise Gourronc. Francoise Gourronc has taken on a large database entry project for LFC. She is also working exhaustively helping her friends and neighbors who have been affected by the flood.

Sponsor of the Week: We thank the wonderful restaurants that have donated gift certificates to Iowa City Flood Victims, including: Lou Henri, Olive Garden, Bennigans, Outback Steak House, Bostons, 126 Restaurant, Jimmy Jacks Rib Shack, Papa Murphys, The Wedge, Perkins, Zmariks, Three Samurai.

And, of course, thank you to everyone out there who has stepped up during this rough month.


Join Us in Celebrating At Hooverfest!

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Each year on the first Saturday in August, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association celebrates Herbert’s Hoover’s birthday at Hooverfest. Visitors enjoy entertainment, food, arts, crafts and fun throughout the day. The event ends with a wreath-laying ceremony, a special tribute to Iowa’s Everday Heroes, and fabulous fireworks display choreographed to music.

Local Foods Connection will be one of the service organizations recognized as an “Everyday Hero.” During the day at the celebration, we will staff a booth to promote our work and we will include a homemade video with those from the other service organizations being shown inside the library-museum.

The evening event begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Bruce Aune, news anchor at KCRG-TV Channel 9. The program features a performance by the Celebration Iowa Singers and Jazz band, patriotic music and the fireworks display. Admission is free.

To learn more, visit the Hoover Association website at:



LFC Featured in ‘Today’s Dietitian’ July 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 12:22 pm
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The June 2008 issue of Today’s Dietitian featured a great article on Local Foods Connection written by David Yeager.

cover today\'s dietitian

Yeager interviewed LFC Executive Director, Laura Dowd, and the resulting feature story, “Local Foods Connection: Matching Needy Families with Healthy Resources,” focuses on the specific challenges faced by low-income families in accessing fresh, local produce. Yeager was quick to pick up on the fact that LFC does more than simply provide CSA shares to low-income families; just as essential are the educational opportunities provided by LFC for its clients. As Laura explains in the feature, “I found that [clients] don’t recognize so many of the vegetables, they don’t have the equipment to prepare the vegetables, they haven’t really cooked much fresh food in their life, and their neighbors and their families don’t have experience doing this. And so they were calling me and saying, ‘Laura, what the heck do I do with this stuff?’ So we had to slowly integrate more and more educational opportunities.”

What really comes across in the Today’s Dietitian feature is the spirit of fun and enthusiasm that runs through Local Foods Connection; it’s important to everyone at LFC that our clients enjoy their relationship with LFC, as they learn alot of useful information, try new foods, and have new experiences. Yeager also keyed in on the fact that LFC cares as much about local farmers as we do about our clients. As our name implies, that magic of LFC comes from connecting eaters, farmers, and advocates to promote healthy eating and support local food systems.

Thank you to Today’s Dietitian for featuring our work!


Please Help Us Provide Flood Relief July 1, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 10:41 am
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Dear Friends of Local Foods Connection:

1. Next time you go shopping, purchase something for a flood victim.

If you purchase goods for the Johnson County Crisis Center to distribute to flood victims and other clients, LFC will come to your house to pick up the donations and bring them to the center. So you don’t have to worry about your donation being too small; combined with the gifts from other friends of LFC, your gift will have a big impact! Next time you go shopping, purchase something for a flood victim. These items are in high demand:

All items hypoallergenic please! (such as the brands found in the organic or natural section of a store, or products designed for babies:

A. Shampoo

B. Conditioner

C. Liquid soap for hands and body

D. Lotion

E. Toothbrush (travel and regular size)

F. Toothpaste (travel and regular size)

G. Laundry detergent

H. Fabric softener

I. Dish soap

Also in demand are:

A. Paper towels

B. Paper napkins

C. Tissue paper

D. Diapers

E. Cleaners – such as 409 or Pine Sol

The Johnson County Crisis Center, as well as the local chapter of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, need cash donations as well! (see below)

2. Next time you eat out, buy a meal for a flood victim!

LFC has been asking restaurants for donations of gift certificates for victims of the flooding in the Normandy / Eastmoor/ Manor Drive area of Iowa City. Many of those families did not have insurance and they are spending long, exhausting days cleaning out their homes. LFC volunteers thought the families could use a break and have a good meal prepared for them. We began handing out coupons this weekend and the families were happy to receive them.

So far, eight restaurants have donated over $300 in certificates! Thanks to Olive Garden, Boston’s, Domino’s Pizza, Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack, Papa Murphy’s, Bennigan’s, Outback Steakhouse and The Wedge.

If you will be dining out during the next few days, considering purchasing a gift certificate for a flood victim. LFC will pick up and distribute them for you. And if you are familiar with the Idyllwild neighborhood, please contact us. We would be happy to have an escort take us around to those homes.

3. First pickup this Thursday, July 3.

If you have donations for the Johnson Crisis Center or for flood victims, LFC will be coming around on Thursday July 3 to pick them up. The earliest we will start picking up is 8:00 a.m. We will work through the day as needed.

If you have something to donate, please email us your address, phone and location where we can find the donation. If you will not be home, you can leave them on a porch or back step in a grocery bag marked “Flood Donations.”

Donations for Iowa City Area Flood Victims:

Prepared June 25, 2008

American Red Cross Grant Wood Area Chapter
PO Box 10375
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410-0375

(319) 393-3500


serves Iowa City and Cedar Rapids

Johnson County Crisis Center

1121 Gilbert Court

Iowa City, Iowa 52240-4528

Crisis Center Business Related: 351-2726

Dawn, Development Director

Food Bank: 351-0128

Crisis Line: 351-0140


serves Johnson County

The Salvation Army

1116 Gilbert Court
Iowa City, IA 52240
phone: 319 337 3725
fax: 319 337 7114


serves Iowa City/Coralville