Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

The season is underway! May 26, 2009

Hi everybody – It’s Caroline here.  My apologies for the two weeks since posting last.  Now that warm weather is here and the CSA season is gearing up, it’s been busy to say the least.

I know that Laura has been overworked and underhelped in the LFC office.  And still, she’s done an amazing job setting up our latest LFC season – matching 40-some local families with CSA shares from Scattergood, Local Harvest, Oak Hill Acres, and more of our friends.  Wow!

In other news, the Iowa City Farmers Market is underway.  I stopped by the market on Wednesday night to pick up my first share from Local Harvest and was delighted to see the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp loaded with shoppers.  I was also delighted to tear into the lettuce and bok choy in our CSA share.  One huge stir fry and one huge salad later, we’ve pretty much eaten through our first week’s share.  It was divine!

We stopped at Saturday’s market to pick up a Miller’s peach pie and an Iowa City Farmers Market t-shirt and the market was just as busy.  Considering dropping by the t-shirt booth to support the Friends of the Farmers Market.  Even better, consider donating your time to this growing group.  Email the group here if you’re willing to donate some time.  Read more about volunteer opportunities here.

If you’re a supporter of local foods, please remember that groups like Local Foods Connection and Friends of the Farmers Market don’t happen without your support.  Consider donating some of your time and energy to strengthen our local food system.  You won’t regret it!

Happy eating,


We want you! May 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 7:07 pm
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We need you! Local Foods Connection has been short of volunteer-staff this past month. If you would like to volunteer in the office to help us through this difficult period, email us with options of times and dates you can come in and do some clerical work. Thanks!


Volunteer Opportunities with LFC March 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:30 am
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Volunteer for Local Foods Connection
to RSVP for any of these activities, email us!
1. Long Term Commitment Opportunities
A. Become a Family Friend
B. Food Delivery
C. Manage Local Foods Connection’s Calendar

2. Short Term Commitment Opportunities
A. Write For Our Education Program
B. Farm Work Days

3. Other Opportunities

**1. Long Term Commitments***

A. Become a Family Friend

6 month commitment – 2 hours/month
May to October
Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines
Attend a training session; work from home

You will be assigned one of our clients to call every two weeks. During the phone conversation, you will:

-ask the client if she picked up her food the past two weeks
-if she has any questions about the produce in her share box
-remind her to visit a farm at least once during the season
-ask if she is participating in any of our educational activities and if she needs help completing a project.

Background Information:  Each client family is required to pickup their box of produce every week.  If they are unable to, they are asked to let us know and possibly to arrange to get their box at another time. If a client misses two pick-ups without calling us, her family might be removed from the program.

Each client family is strongly encouraged to participate in our education program. We give the families an activity book at the beginning of the season. Examples of activities available include visiting a farm, reading a book and writing a review, and sharing vegetables with a neighbor or friend. Books, DVDs, and cooking classes are made available at no cost to the client.  We can offer a client compensation for gas to travel to a farm.

More detailed instructions will be emailed to volunteers.

B. Food Delivery

6 month commitment – 4 to 8 hours/month
May to October
Iowa City, Cedar Rapids
Car required; gas reimbursement provided

Every week or every other week, depending upon your availability, pick up food from a farmer drop-off site in Iowa City and drive to smaller distribution sites around town.

C. Manage Local Foods Connection’s (LFC) Calendar

6 month commitment – 1 to 2 hours/week
Begin at any time
Work from home but reconnect with us for 2 hours a month in Iowa City office

Keep in contact with our administrative volunteers so you know what is happening in organization.  Enter all appointments, conferences, events, deadlines and other important dates in our calendars and ensure reminders go out to the right people in a timely manner.

***2. Short Term Commitments***

A. Write For Our Education Program

2 to 5 hours per project
Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines
Work from home

Are you a chef with a variety of cooking experiences? Are you a registered dietitian or a licensed nutritionist? Are you a farmer who practices alternative agriculture? If so, you can create an educational pamphlet for our clients. Our pamphlets are short, fact-filled and fun. They cover a variety of topics, such as: asparagus, how to read nutrition labels and frost on the farm. Examples and more detailed instructions will be given to volunteers.

B. Farm Work Days

Sat March 28: Solon
Sun March 29: West Branch
Sat April 11: Solon
Sat April 18: West Branch
Sun April 19: Solon
Sat April 25: Atalissa
Sun April 26: Solon, West Branch
Sat May 2: West Branch
Sun May 3: Solon

You will be doing farm work on a small, local farm that practices sustainable agriculture. In exchange for your volunteer labor, the farmer will give Local Foods Connection credit towards food purchases. No farm experience is required! The farmers will teach you what to do.

To Sign Up

-Give us your phone number and an email address that you check frequently. If the weather is very bad, the farmer might cancel, and we will need to call you.

-Send us a confirmation email saying you will attend the work session for which we’ve registered you.

Getting to the Farm

-Meet us at the farm at 10:30 a.m. LFC will help pay for gas.

-A limited number of carpooling rides are available. Let us know right away if you need a ride.

-If you have a car, please let us know if you can offer rides to other people.

Preparation for Farm Work

-Dress in layers. It might be colder or hotter on a farm than in town. The wind is stronger in some rural areas than in town. You might be working in a greenhouse or a barn and need to take off layers.

-Bring a hat. Bring suntan lotion.

-Be prepared to get dirty! Bring old towels, garbage bags or similar item to cover your car seats and floors to protect them from mud. You might want to bring a change of shoes, so dirty shoe souls don’t mess up your floors and pedals. You can even bring a change of clothes.

-Bring a bottle of water.

-Farmers will provide necessary tools for working.

-Please show up for the farm work day for which you’ve enrolled! The farmers will prepare for group projects, and if volunteers don’t show up, they will have lost valuable time.

***3. Other Opportunities***

If you have a skill or a talent you would like to share with Local Foods Connection, let us know! We will try to match your interests with our projects and needs.


Help Needed at The Haunted Bookshop! December 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 6:53 pm
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You may have heard that our good friends at The Haunted Bookshop are moving at the beginning of the year. Please join us in helping The Haunted Bookshop move to its new location at the corner of Market and Linn Streets – in the Northside Book Market location.

Starting January 1, Nialle and Kurt Sylvan will begin packing up their books and moving them to the Northside store, combining the two inventories of something like 40,000 books!

The owners of Haunted have been amazing supporters and good friends of Local Foods Connection for years. They have had a benefit sale display at their store for LFC for years (on the porch in good weather – inside during inclement weather) – and promise to do the same at their new location! In 2008 alone they donated nearly $500 to LFC – a lot of money for a small, locally-owned business! Nialle and Kurt have even offered to sell LFC t-shirts at their new location!

Nialle and Kurt predict it will take them several days to pack, move, unpack and sort all the books.

If you’re interested in helping them with the move, you can bring cardboard boxes and clean plastic bags to their Washington St. location (520 E Washington) through the end of this year to help with packing.

If you have some time to spare to help with the move, particularly January 2-5 or during weekday evenings in early January, let them know at thehauntedbookshop@earthlink.net or (319) 337-2996 and they can add you to the volunteer schedule.

Rok and Jan, who have owned Northside since 1997, are retiring and leaving their store to Nialle and Kurt. Jan and Rok are the original owners of Haunted Bookshop – opening it in 1978. Here is more good news – the former owners of the Fun Zone, Mark and Beth – are bequeathing their former inventory to the Sylvans – who will try to squeeze the toys in the new bookstore with everything else!



Meet LFC > Installment Four November 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 11:14 am
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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.


Volunteer and Sponsor of the Week October 28, 2008

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!!!


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