Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Tallgrass Bioneers Conference and VOTE! October 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:09 am
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Looking for a fun event this weekend that doesn’t involve horror movies, trickery, and lots and lots of sugar???

Look no further than the 2008 Tallgrass Bioneers Conference!  As I mentioned in our last post, Grinnell College, in partnership with the Grinnell Tourism Group, Catnip Farm, Cityview Magazine, Faulconer Gallery, iDEZiN Digital Workgroup, Imagine Grinnell, Iowa Foundation for Education, Environment and the Arts, Iowa Renewable Energy Association, and Radish Magazine, will be hosting the 2008 Tallgrass Bioneers Conference.  Head out to Grinnell this weekend to connect with other Bioneer locations throughout the country for the three day conference (October 31 – November 2).  You can find the full schedule of events here.  Or, to register, go here.

With all the excitement this weekend, don’t forget to head to your local polling place to cast your ballot for president and a host of other important offices.  You can vote early in Johnson County all election weekdays from 8am to 6pm at the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 913 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City and at satellite locations.  Call the Auditor’s Office at 319.356.6004 with questions.

Confused about the voting process?  Click here to enter your address and find your polling place and a list of legislators. [If you get an error message on that page, place your cursor in the “house number” box after entering your full address information and hit “find.”]  For a Johnson County sample ballot, click here.  The Gazetteonline also has a great voter guide with information about candidates and ballots.  Find it here.

So get out there and vote! vote! vote!  (Well, only do it once…  but with gusto!)

Be well,


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 10:46 am
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Volunteer of the Week:
Matt Hawkins. Matt took two of our Cedar Rapids families on a farmer’s market visit. He helps organize board meetings and does office work.

Sponsor of the Week:
NCS Pearson. NCS Pearson donated $250 to Local Foods Connection.

Thank you Matt and thank you NCS!!!


Thank yous: people and places we love. October 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 3:53 pm
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Hi everyone – Caroline here.  Things continue to be busy, busy, busy as the 2008 CSA season draws to a close.  The end of the season always seems like a good time to reflect, and as I think back to the past few weeks and months, we have lots to be thankful for.  Our fearless leader, Laura Dowd, has been working her butt off at the election office, protecting our democratic right to vote.  Yay Laura!  Our stellar public health intern, Emma Duer, has been holding the pieces together with the help of our amazing administrative volunteer, Heidi Fister, our wonderful university volunteer, Matt Hawkins, and our bodacious high school volunteer, Laura Cremer.  Special thanks, also, go out to all of our farmers and to our clients – you rock!

In the past few weeks, we’ve had the chance to visit several local farms:

We headed out to Dirty Face Creek Farm twice in recent weeks, where we helped Mike Stutsman plant garlic and harvest tomatoes.  Our thanks go out to Mike and his wife Jessica for their generosity – they donated quite a bit of their produce to Tate High School.  We also enjoyed riding in the back of your pick-up truck and visiting with your cows!

A group of eighth graders from United Action for Youth met us at Susan Jutz’s ZJ Farms last week to help weigh garlic and harvest carrots.  Harvesting carrots, in particular, can be tedious work, and we thank all of the student volunteers and UAY‘s Mandy Maass for sticking with the job – especially Bianca, who, because of her lightning fast speed, we dubbed “Queen of the Carrots.”  I think they had just as much fun playing with Susan’s dog Lexi and spraying each other with the hose as they did harvesting.  My apologies go out to Susan, also, for breaking one of her pitchforks – those carrots just would not budge!

Yesterday, UI student Chris Page brought a big group of University of Iowa Honors students out to Scattergood Farm to pull tomato cages and harvest sweet potatoes and broad beans.  Proving the old adage that “Many hands make light work,” the students flew through the tomatoes and the beans – thank you for that!  Mark Quee, from Scattergood, gave us an amazing tour of the farm – hogs, turkeys, rams, bulls, and all.  Thank you, Mark, for answering all of our questions – no matter how silly – and for opening our eyes to the world of farming – we learned lessons in biology, economics, and food policy all in one afternoon.

Mark also let us know about an event that some of our readers might be interested in: the Tallgrass Bioneers Conference at Grinnell College from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.  As the Tallgrass Bioneers explain on their site:

“The conference highlights the work of scientific and social innovators and helps support, nurture and propagate their ideas and models. Conference speakers come from interdisciplinary fields: environmental and socio-political activism; ‘green’ biology, chemistry, design, architecture and urban planning; organic and ‘beyond organic’ farming and gardening; indigenous perspectives; biodiversity and wildland preservation; alternative energy; engaged spirituality, literature and the arts; holistic and ‘ecological’ medicine; ethnobotany; socially-responsible entrepreneurship, business and philanthropy; the environmental justice, women’s and youth movements; independent media; etc.”

Whew!  Be sure to check out the 2008 Tallgrass Bioneers Conference web site for more information on specific events and speakers.

Thanks for all of your support this year and always!  We couldn’t do what we do without you.

Be well,


News from the Red Avocado October 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 9:49 am
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This just in from The Red Avocado, Iowa City’s only all-organic restaurant: their final fundraiser of October will benefit Farm Sanctuary.  Join the folks at The Red Avocado for dinner on Wednesday, October 29th, and 50% of their profits from the night will go to benefit Farm Sanctuary.

As The Red Avocado explained in their most recent e-newsletter,

Farm Sanctuary works to end cruelty to farm animals and promotes compassionate living through rescue, education and advocacy. They envision a world where the violence that animal agriculture inflicts upon people, animals and the environment has ended, and where instead we exercise values of compassion.

Iowa City resident Elizabeth Cummings just returned from a two-month volunteer stint at Farm Sanctuary. She helped care for the pigs who survived the flood of Oakville, Iowa, back in June. Elizabeth will provide a slide show, briefing of her time at the NY shelter, and answer any questions you might have.”

Other upcoming events include:

Wednesday, October 14th @ 6:30pm: Dr. Ron Robinson will present a seminar on Home Remedies for the Family at The Eastwind Healing Center (above The Hotel Vetro, 221 E College, Suite 211, Iowa City).

Saturday, October 18th @ 6:30pm: Dr. Will Tuttle will present a lecture on the benefits of a plant based diet at The Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City (10 S. Gilbert Street, Iowa City). Refreshments from The Red Avocado and New Pioneer Co-op served at 6:30pm, lecture to follow at 7:30pm. Dr. Tuttle is the author of ‘The World Peace Diet.’ For more on Dr. Tuttle, see www.worldpeacediet.net.


Meet LFC: Installment Three October 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 1:19 pm
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1. What is your name?


2. Where were you born and where have you lived?

I was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but I have lived in a variety of places, depending on the definition of “live.”  I’ve lived in many of the suburbs of Des Moines (and I’ll just consider Ankeny a suburb here, which will probably annoy Ankenyites!); Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Lee, Virginia; Olympia, Washington; Marion, Iowa; and now Mount Vernon, Iowa.  I’d like to consider the barracks in which I spent three weeks in Kaiserslautern, Germany as home, too, although I think that is stretching the definition of live.

3. Who are your favorite heroes of fiction (books/movies/songs) or real life?

I can’t say that I really have favorite “heroes,” as I tend to be a very down to earth person with no heroes.  I admire people, but certainly not to the point of hero-worship.  As for people I’d admire – every person who has gone up against great odds to accomplish something for this world (Rosa Parks, Abigail Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Charlotte Gilman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and the list goes on), people who write books that I am able to delve into and enjoy from a variety of genres (Jacqueline Carey, Melanie Rawn, J.R.R. Tolkein, Tad Williams, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Robert Jordan, and more), a lot of the people in those books give me something to admire and strive for (way too many to list), the fictional character Lorelei Gilmore from Gilmore Girls (I, too, was a young single parent), and really any person who strives to better the environment around them (the social environment, the physical environment, the worldview).

I also really like the character Joe Flannigan plays on Stargate: Atlantis.  What can I say?  I’m a geek.

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

Ingredients!  I remember when I was growing up – I used to take a peek in the pantry, wrinkle my nose, and say, “Mom!  There’s nothing but ingredients in here!”  Now, I love to have non-bleached all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, bran, sugar, and the list goes on.  I know that at any second I can make homemade mashed potatoes, bread, or more.

Even better is to have food in my refrigerator/cupboard that I grew myself or received from someone who grew it themselves.  There’s just something about biting into a delicious carrot and knowing that I grew it in my backyard.  The applesauce that my mother-in-law canned from apples on her brother’s farm is the best applesauce I’ve ever tasted.  I can’t wait until I learn to can!

5. What kind of work do you do with Local Foods Connection?

I like to help out however I can (which recently has been not at all – sorry LFC!), as much as I can, when I can.  I’ve helped in the office, I’ve made suggestions when I’ve had them, I’ve worked on the farm, I’ve contacted volunteers, I’ve spread the word about LFC around as many places as I can, and I’ve called clients to ask them how they are doing.  Some of those I’ve done once (calling volunteers), and some of them I’ve done more than once.  All in all, anything that I can do to help LFC makes me happier.

6. What is your most marked characteristic?

I wasn’t quite sure what my most marked characteristic would be, so I asked a variety of people.

My husband:  “Strength of will.”

My best friend: “I’d say your desire for things to be orderly and controlled.  Or your lack of tolerance for ignorance/laziness.”

My sister’s boyfriend: “Empathy.  Definitely empathy.”

My answer, by the way, would have been “stubbornness.”

7. What led you to an interest in local foods?

I was browsing http://www.localharvest.org and looking for a variety of sources for meat (I am a flexitarian [mostly vegetarian], and most of the meat that I do allow myself to eat comes from local farms and I have stringent requirements).  While browsing and thinking to myself that the website was awesome, I came across Local Foods Connections entry.


I went to the website and sent Laura an e-mail asking how I could help!

8. What was your favorite food as a child?

Green bean casserole, all the way.

9. How do you spend your time outside of Local Foods Connection?

I have two children so I spend a lot of time with them.  I also (currently) work in a psychology lab at the University of Iowa where I am a full-time student.  I will (hopefully) graduate with honors in psychology in December.  I love to garden, scrapbook, take photos, read books, watch movies, play World of Warcraft (I told you, geek!), take my husband’s motorcycle out, and so much more.  I’d say I’m definitely an adrenaline junky, so if I didn’t have two young kids, I’d probably be doing things that didn’t sound so boring. 😉

10. What is your motto?

Eleanor Roosevelt said something at some point that sounded like this, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  I keep that in mind at all times as I’m going through life.  Second, “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”  Even though this quote sounds a little obsessive (and I don’t know who said it or in what context), I keep in mind on those days that I’m feeling like I make no impact, that I have helped in little ways that have changed other people’s lives and my own.  I do have an impact, even though it may be a tiny one.

So my motto is probably something like “Live hard, play hard, work hard, help hard, and keep your chin up.” Yeah.  That’ll do it.