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.