Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Feedback from Clients and Friends November 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 1:19 pm

1. Some of the Different Ways LFC Serves the Community

Local Foods Connection enrolls low-income families in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups run by local, small family farmers. As a member of a CSA, a family receives a box of produce every week for approximately 20 weeks. We try to reach low-income individuals who don’t need a whole CSA share through social service agencies, such as the Johnson County Domestic Violence Intervention Program and the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic. We enroll these agencies in CSAs and they divide up the weekly delivery of fresh produce among their clients. The Free Medical Clinic offers the chemical-free fruits and vegetables to the participants in their “Healthy Neighborhood Challenge” class, which teaches them about nutrition and exercise.

For the agencies and institutions our organization cannot afford to enroll in a CSA, we help them make connections with local farmers in other ways.

2. Elder Services at Ecumenical Towers, Iowa City

The Elder Services office in Ecumenical Towers, Iowa City, built a relationship with ZJ Farm of Solon this season. Ecumenical Towers serves the low-income and disabled elderly. Farmer Susan Jutz donated all of her extras from the Wednesday Iowa City Farmer’s Market to the Ecumenical Towers. Laura Dowd gave a presentation about local farms, gardening and fresh food to a group at the Towers. Laura and Emma Duer took some residents to ZJ Farm for a visit.

Here is a wonderful letter the people from Ecumenical Towers sent to our office. (Dianne and resident ‘LW’ helped LFC manage their distribution):

Dear Laura, Susan and each of those who work with you,

I would like to add my sincere thanks to you for ‘adopting’ the persons at Ecumenical Towers to receive the extra vegetables from your stand at the Farmer’s Market. This provided an opportunity for many, who may not otherwise, to receive fresh, nutritious, locally grown vegetables. Local Foods Connection is a wonderful program! We would love to participate again next year.


Dianne Brenneman

Service Coordinator, Ecumenical Towers

I wish to thank you for the nourishing, delicious food I have received these recent months through your kindness, generosity, hard work and dedication. Dedication to an ideal that each person deserves the total goodness Life has to offer.

Please accept my gratitude and wishes that only Good enter your lives and that all your endeavors meet with success. Those signed below share my wishes and gratitude as recipients of the ‘extras’ here at Ecumenical Towers. -LW

Dear LW, so very thankful for all your efforts. -PL

Dear LW, this extra effort from you has given each of us much joy. Thank you. -JQ

The enjoyment and sincere feelings of community in our building is deepened by the Generosity and efforts of you all, and our neighbors, LW and others. -Your appreciative neighbor DT

Gods Blessings -SR

Thank you -KY

Thank you and God Bless -EZ

Many thanks for all the healthful garden goodies -LY

Thank you very much. God bless you -E

Really appreciated the nice fresh vegetables. Thanks a lot. -IR

Thanks to all who produced and all who carried food to Ecumenical Towers. -ES


3. Elizabeth Tate Alternative High School, Iowa City

Local Foods Connection helped Elizabeth Tate Alternative High School in Iowa City make a connection with a local farm this year as well. Elizabeth Tate High School provides an alternative education program based upon the unique needs of students who require individualized plans, a modified schedule, small student teacher ratio, instructional strategies that focus on multiple learning styles, and an individual learning pace. The school has a garden and a working kitchen in which they teach students about cooking and nutrition.

This fall, the school received garden extras from Dirty Face Creek Farm run by Micheal and Jessica Stutsman in Hills. Local Foods Connection volunteers harvested tomatoes and apples from the Stutsman’s farm and delivered the goods to the welcoming arms of staff and students. When a teacher saw us pull up with our first delivery of over a dozen boxes of freshly-picked food, he said with astonishment, “There is a lot of love in the back seat of that car!” Among other home-made items, the students canned their own fresh salsa with the ingredients.

Everyone at the school and at Local Foods Connection thanks Michael and Jessica for their generosity. We extend our condolences to the Stutsman family for the loss of Michael this past week in a farming accident. Michael was an open-heartened and joyful person we are fortunate to have spent time with this past year.

A memorial has been established at Hills Bank and Trust Co. for the care and education of Michael and Jessica’s daughter, Sophie May.


Tales From the Front: Terra Madre 2008 November 25, 2008

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LFC welcomes guest blogger (and LFC friend) Mark Armstrong from Acoustic Farms in Springville, Iowa. Acoustic Farms boasts 82 acres of naturally-raised vegetables, herbs, lambs, and pork – and, soon, cheese. At the end of October, Mark and his wife Barbara headed off to Torino, Italy for Terra Madre 2008. As the Terra Madre web site explains, “the third edition of the biennial international meeting of the Terra Madre Network brings together food communities, cooks, academics and youth delegates for four days to work towards increasing small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production.” Mark was kind enough to agree to share his experiences with the LFC blog readers.  Thank you, Mark!

Be well,


It’s hard to believe that it has been a month since my wife Barbara and I were trying to find our way around Turin.  But time flies they say. I think that I am still trying to digest it all. We were overwhelmed by the 7000 people from 140 countries that were at Terra Madre.  People were from all age groups. We met chefs, students, educators, other producers, and observers.   All of us had the same thoughts….how do we protect our food supply, protect individual cultures, and keep it all sustainable.  The different languages were easily overcome with a little effort.

The opening ceremony was incredible with drums calling the people of the nations together, each walking in with their country’s flag.  Opening speeches were powerful.  Closing remarks left lasting impressions on us all.  My ears still ring from the music.  The complexities of delegates from around the world dancing together as one could never be captured on film.

We heard stories of schools growing their vegetables. We listened to discussions on different cheese cultures, Bee survival, Heritage livestock.  It was hard to pick what meetings to attend.  The meetings were interesting,  but I felt that more was attained from meeting with the other delegates on an individual basis.  There was no end to the stories, both success and failure to learn from.

What can I do to promote our local food system?  This thought runs through my mind almost daily since we left Italy.  This trip proved to be a major change in our farming choice.  We have farmed for CSAs the last two years,  but after being repeatedly flooded last year, we were looking for a different way to provide quality local food.  At Terra Madre, we met incredible cheese makers from around the world, and one only 2 hours away.  We decided that this should be our forte,  to make local farmstead cheese.  Funny that we had to travel across the ocean to find our farms destiny.  We have 2 jersey cows already and will add to the family and should be marketing cheese in the spring.

Mark Armstrong


Meet LFC > Installment Four November 19, 2008

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1.    What is your name?


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

Born in: New Port Beach, CA… lived outside of Waco, TX and in Clear Lake, IA

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


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

FRUIT of various kinds

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

Clerical, Reception, Farm

6.    What is your most marked characteristic?


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

Interest in environmental awareness

8.    What was your favorite food as a child?


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

VP Recruitment of Alpha Epsilon Phi, Pre-pharmacy student, babysitting/working elsewhere

10.    What is your motto?

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.


LFC Newsletter > November 8, 2008 November 8, 2008

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Things to look for in this issue:

1. Attend a Lecture about the Connection Between Your Health and the Food You Eat

2. Low-Income Access to Local Food in the News

3. The Untold Costs of Animal Confinement Facilities

4. The Community Food Security Coalition in Oregon profiles Local Foods Connection!

5. Donate to Local Foods Connection Online


1. Attend a Lecture about the Connection Between Your Health and the Food You Eat

“Sustaining Iowa: Making the Connection between Food, Health and the Land” http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/news/events/Maring_events.pdf

Three presentations by Dr. Preston Maring, Associate Physician-in-Chief, Oakland Medical Center, Oakland, California; W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow

“What you eat is one of the most important determinants of your health”

Dr. Maring has worked to bring healthy, sustainably-produced food to his patients, hospital employees and neighbors. He has become a leading advocate in the medical community for local and sustainable food systems. His presentation will focus on the economic, health, community and environmental benefits of local and sustainable food. At each location, his presentation will be followed by a respondent who will share Iowa stories of these benefits.

— Monday, November 10, 2008, Noon

140 Schaeffer Hall, U of I, Iowa City

Contact: David Riley, (319) 335-4016

— Monday, November 10, 2008, 7:30 p.m.

Commons Ball Room, UNI, Cedar Falls

Contact: Kamyar Enshayan, (319) 273-7575

— Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 7 p.m.

2050 Agronomy, ISU, Ames

Contact: Rich Pirog, (515) 294-1854
This event is sponsored by:

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University

Center for Energy and Environmental Education, University of Northern Iowa

Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, University of Iowa


2. Low-Income Access to Local Food in the News

The Slow Food USA Magazine, “The Snail: All the Food That’s Fit to Print” Issue 7, Fall 2008. From “A Letter from the National Office” by Executive Director Erika Lesser http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/slow_food/the_snail/

“One of the greatest challenges that Slow Food faces-that everyone in the food movement faces-lies in closing the gap between what it takes to produce truly good, clean and fair food, and what it takes to buy it. Farmers should not need to take a vow of poverty to farm sustainably, and low-income people should not need to choose between healthcare and healthy food, yet both injustices occur everyday.”


3. The Untold Costs of Animal Confinement Facilities

The Union of Concerned Scientists Magazine “Catalyst.” From “The Untold Costs of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)” by Doug Gurian-Sherman http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/cafos-uncovered.pdf

“Over the past several decades, U.S. livestock production has taken an unwise and costly turn. Until recently, food animals and crops were produced in an integrated, self-sustaining way that often had benefits for farmers and society as a whole. But the way we produce meat and dairy products has undergone a profound transformation that has disrupted this balanced system. CAFOs impose high costs on our society and economy, contribution to air and water pollution, antibiotic-resistant illnesses, and poorer quality of life in rural areas.”


4. The Community Food Security Coalition in Oregon profiles Local Foods Connection!

The Community Food Security Coalition profiles Local Foods Connection in its November 2008 Newsletter “The Grapevine.” http://campaign-archive.com/?u=923d8af6802cd35b0a1f16530&id=b495e8ccc9&e=qdiNn9CE88#MP

The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times. They seek to develop self-reliance among all communities in obtaining their food and to create a system of growing, manufacturing, processing, making available, and selling food that is regionally based and grounded in the principles of justice, democracy, and sustainability.

Learn more about this incredible organization at: http://www.foodsecurity.org


5. Donate to Local Foods Connection Online at:



Monday, Nov. 10 > “Sustaining Iowa”

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This Monday, the Leopold Center is hosting:

Sustaining Iowa: Making the Connection between Food, Health and the Land
California physician Preston Maring will visit Iowa to share his passion for local food. Maring is Associate Physician-in-Chief at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland. In 2003, he created the Friday Fresh Farmers Market at the hospital, now offered at 340 other health care facilities in six states. He has his own blog that gets more than 50,000 page views each month with weekly recipes for fresh produce. Event flier [PDF] Maring biography [PDF] News release

Noon, November 10, Iowa City, U of Iowa – 140 Schaeffer Hall


VOTE! November 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 7:33 pm