Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Meet LFC: Installment Two September 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 8:57 am
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Greetings!  This is Caroline here.  As you may recall, back on August 12th we featured our first installment of “Meet LFC.”  If you missed the post, you can check it out here.

As I explained then, we at LFC thought this “Meet LFC” feature would be a great way for our readers to get to know the over 200 people who make up Local Foods Connection; this collection of volunteers, clients, and farmers work together to make the magic of LFC happen.  Everyone comes to LFC for a different reason and with a different story.  “Meet LFC,” then, is a place where you can read about some of those stories and personalities.

With that in mind, I’m happy to introduce you to volunteer Monika.  Monika recently moved off to Brooklyn to spread the gospel of food security from the east coast inward.  Nonetheless, she remains a friend of LFC!

1.      What is your name?

2.      Where were you born and where have you lived?
I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Fairfield, IA. I graduated with a degree in Political Science and German from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and was fortunate enough to live a year in Southern Germany.

3.      How long have you been working with Local Foods Connection?
Since last October.

4.      Who are your favorite heroes of fiction (books/movies/songs)?
Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

5.      Who are your favorite heroes in real life?
My mom, my dad, my sister and my brother. I have these friends who bring up ideas I never would have considered, and smart, thoughtful cousins, aunts and uncles.

6.      What is your favorite food or meal?
Lots of cilantro in a bowl or on a plate, and jalapenos. I toss them in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt for 15 minutes. For friends you can put them on a stick like a hot lollipop. They pair well with cold beer.

7.      What is the quality you most admire in another person?
Being considerate.

8.      What can’t you live without in your refrigerator or cupboard?

9.      What do you like most about the work you do with Local Foods Connection?
Every person I have met through Local Foods Connection has enhanced my understanding of how a community works. The nature of Laura Dowd’s non-profit has attracted experienced, skilled people in areas ranging from farming and other local businesses, social work, and political activism.

10.  What is your most marked characteristic?
Fast talker.

11.  What is your first food memory?
Being terribly confused by diet soda.

12.  What kind of work do you do with Local Foods Connection?
Anything Laura needs done is time well spent. Specifically, I got to work on the distribution of Thanksgiving turkeys from Henry J.C. and Ila Miller’s farm in Kalona to LFC clients as well as producing LFC organic bgreen t-shirts.

13.  What is your favorite thing about eastern Iowa?
The hills, or that you notice hills here.

14.  What led you to an interest in local foods?
Questions about why food travelled from other places to my town. Could it not be grown here? What were the obstacles? Who benefits from local food? I’m finding out that it is not only possible, but more efficient to grow food in and around our cities.

15.  What is your dream of happiness?
That everyone would know what it feels like.

16.  What was your favorite food as a child?

17.  How do you spend your time outside of Local Foods Connection?
Thinking about Local Foods Connection.

18.  What foods do you most dislike?

19.  What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I would like to be better at Math.

20.  What is your favorite cookbook?
I cannot remember the last time I used a cookbook. It seems more important to maintain a focus from concept to plate on who you are cooking for and why.

21.  What is your motto?
“Screwing things up is a virtue. Being correct is never the point. I have an almost fanatically correct assistant, and by the time she re-spells my words and corrects my punctuation, I can’t read what I wrote. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.” -Robert Rauschenberg


Shout out to City Farm in Chicago! September 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 12:01 pm
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Happy Tuesday everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather – I need to get away from this computer to head outside.  But, before I go, I had to offer a little plug for my dear friends at City Farm in Chicago.  If you’re anywhere near Chicago – or simply need an excuse to head that way! – you should visit City Farm this Monday (September 29th) for their 2008 Harvest Dinner Fundraiser. City Farm is partnering with Chicago’s own Goose Island Brewery to bring you an evening of dinner and drinks that’s not to be forgotten.  When else will you have a chance to be wined (beered?) and dined amongst rows of veggies in view of the Chicago skyline?

Tickets cost $50 and the folks at City Farm are asking that you RSVP by Friday, September 26 if you plan to attend.  RSVPs should be sent to cityfarmchicago@gmail.com.  The dinner will be held on the farm, 1204 N. Clybourn in Chicago, from 6pm-10pm.  All proceeds will benefit City Farm.

For those of you not familiar with City Farm, it is a one-acre food producing garden on Chicago’s near west side.  The City Farmers, led by Tim Wilson, use organic methods to farm the vacant lot on which their raised bed operation is perched.  They sell to high end Chicago restaurants and to the low-income neighbors down the street.  City Farm also hosts a wide array of students, interns, and volunteers throughout the growing season.  According to its web site,

City Farm is a sustainable organic farm bordering two very diverse Chicago neighborhoods:  Cabrini Green and The Gold Coast.  Located on the west side of Clybourn Avenue, just north of Division Street, the farm boasts 30 varieties of tomatoes as well as beets, carrots, potatoes, gourmet lettuces, herbs and melons.  All produce is grown in composted soil generated from various sources, such as restaurant trimmings from some of the city’s finest kitchens.”

You can read more about City Farm here.  But really, no amount of reading can stand in for the real thing.  So head out to City Farm on Monday to support their work!

Happy day,


The Daily Iowan Follows LFC to ZJ Farm September 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 8:15 am

Hey everyone!

Yesterday, Laura and I headed out to ZJ Farm to meet a group of students from the Honors Program at Susan Jutz’s ZJ Farm.  While we were expecting a larger group, we want to thank the three students who made it out to the farm yesterday and accomplished some major work in the greenhouse.  Thank you Chris, Sara, and Traci!

The students also brought along a reporter, Mary Harrington, and photographer, Becky Mnuk, from the Daily Iowan, and the piece they compiled, “UI Volunteers Aid Nonprofit, Providing Organic Produce for Needy Families,” appeared in the Daily Iowan today.  You can read it online here as well as accessing the online slideshow.

While a few of the details in the story are a bit fuzzy – for instance, the DI confused Local Harvest’s deliveries per week with Local Foods Connection’s deliveries – we thank them for the interest in Local Foods Connection and ZJ Farm.  We also thank them for helping out with the weeding when they were done reporting!

Enjoy the story and the pictures.

Happy day,


LFC Newsletter September 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 2:22 pm
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What’s new this week?  We’ll tell you!

1. Fundraising event for ZJ Farm

2. Vote Tuesday, September 9 in School Board election

3. Donate to Local Foods Connection online!

1. Fundraising event for ZJ Farm



French Dinner at Simone’s Plain & Simple

ZJ Farms Education Programs Fundraiser

Friday, Sept 12, 6:30 p.m.

Susan Jutz of ZJ Farm helped create the idea of Local Foods Connection along with Simone Delaty and Laura Dowd. Local Foods Connection buys vegetables CSA shares from Susan and bread & egg CSA shares from Simone for our clients.

Come enjoy an authentic French dinner in lovely country setting and support the Education Programs at ZJ Farms.  The ZJ Farms Education Programs offer hands-on experience and events that teach young people of all ages that value of land stewardship, nontraditional leadership and nutrition.  Education explorations include milking and petting the farm animals, hunts for vegetable in gardens, work projects to participate in farming experience, lessons on growing food from planting to harvest, leadership and community building training.

Tickets on sale now!

$45 for Slow Food Members/ $50 for non-Slow Food.

Slow Food is an international organization which promotes food that is:
-grown by farmers paid a fair wage,
-free of farm chemicals and dangerous processing chemicals, and
-tastes good and is good for your health.
Their motto is “Good, Clean, Fair.”

Call 621-2484 to reserve a seat.

2. VOTE! Tuesday September 9 is the School Board election.

Information on polling locations can be found at:


Information on candidates can be found at:


(You might have to scroll down the results page to find the school board candidates.)

3. Donate to Local Foods Connection on-line!



Field to Family is Coming! September 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 4:50 pm

Field to Family 2008 Celebrates Local Food and Culinary Excellence Sept 4-20!

Join us at our many fun and educational events.

Culinary Walk

Events include a downtown Iowa City Culinary Walk, September 4 from 5:30pm ot 8pm, where six restaurants showcase the products of their favorite local growers in a display of elegant hors d’oeuvres. Participating restaurants include Atlas, Devotay, One Twenty Six, New Pioneer Food Co-op, The Red Avocado, and Motley Cow. Tickets are $25 /person (children under 6 are free). Tickets are available at New Pioneer Food Co-op stores.

Proceeds benefit the Johnson County Local Food Alliance. http://www.jclfa.org

Farmer’s Market Cooking Demonstration

Get new menu ideas at the Iowa City Farmers’ Market September 6 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am when Chef Dave Burt of The Red Avocado takes inspiration from the day’s offerings and demonstrates easy recipes on the spot. This event is free and open to the public.

Farmer’s Market “Meet the Activists”

Who is working to promote local foods in this area? Meet kindred spirits at the Field to Family Market Fair September 6 from 7:30am to 11am under the bridge at the Iowa City Farmers’ Market. This event is free and open to the public.

Permaculture Workshop

It’s all about plants – any plant but grass! See permaculture in action at two local gardens from 1pm to 4pm on September 7 with Backyard Abundance folks Fred Meyer and Mary Crooks. Learn how permaculture can help us meet our need for food, shelter, and community in a way that harmonizes with nature. This event is free; meet at the Iowa City New Pioneer Food Co-op store. To learn more, visit http://www.BackyardAbundance.org

Children’s “Move It, Dig It, Do It” Event

Give the kids a wild romp with an educational spin. Bring them to The Iowa Children’s Museum Sept. 7 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm event Move it! Dig It! Do it! at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Discover “Farming through the Ages”, with real draft horses, and see vehicles of all kinds up-close in Construction Zone and Road Runners. Play and learn at over 12 hands-on activities, including Making Salsa from fresh local ingredients. Advance ticket sales at Children’s Museum: $6/person, under age 3 free, $25 family, Day of event $8/person. Visit www.theicm.org to learn more.

Chef Kurt Friese Book Reading

Savor locally-sourced refreshments as local author and chef Kurt Michael Friese reads aloud from his new book, A Cook’s Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland September 14, 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the Motley Cow restaurant. Suggested donation is $10


Food Preservation Workshop

Come learn how people in your community are “putting some of the summer in a jar” at the Food Preservation Workshop September 20 from 9am to 4:15pm at 123 E Market St., in Iowa City. Learn about canning pickled green beans, tomato salsa, and green tomato-apple chutney. Learn how to put a root cellar to work for you, how to dehydrate fruit, make fabulous jam and home-can Iowa grass-fed beef. This event is free; please register by visiting www.newpi.com or calling Steph at 338-9441 so we can plan for the event.


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week! September 1, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:25 am
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Volunteer of the Week: Emma Duer. Emma Duer is a student at the UI Public Health graduate program and is doing her internship with LFC this year. Emma works with our clients, does office work, helps write grants, and is creating an outcome measurement program for us.

Sponsor of the Week: The City of Iowa City. The City awarded LFC a $1,500 Community Development Block Grant this year to pay our executive director.

Thank you to Emma and to the City of Iowa City!  LFC works because you do.