Local Foods Connection Blog

Local foods, hunger relief, sustainable agriculture

Clear Creek Women Landowners Meeting May 11, 2009

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Clear Creek Women Landowners Meeting and Field Day

Women landowners in the Clear Creek watershed (stretching from Conroy to Coralville) are invited to the Clear Creek Women Landowners Meeting and Field Day on Thursday, May 28 from 2pm-6pm beginning at the Tiffin Fire Station meeting room (221 Main St., Tiffin, IA). Women will gather with conservation staff, listen to a presentation by Abbe Hills farmer Laura Krouse, and tour local farms to view conservation practices in action.

This event, sponsored by the Clear Creek Watershed Enhancement Project, is free and open to the public. Bring yourself, your conservation questions, and some outdoor footwear, and we will provide the rest.

If you’re interested in attending the meeting or in conservation more generally, please consider completing our very brief pre-meeting survey available at:


Hope to see you there!



Women Land & Legacy of Jackson County April 16, 2009

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Subject: Women Land & Legacy presents An Estate Planning Workshop
April 23rd

Women, Land, and Legacy of Jackson County will be hosting a very popular Estate Planning Workshop on Thursday, April 23, 2009, at the Comfort Inn in Maquoketa. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the presentation “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?” by Jackson County Extension Director, Amber Matthiesen. Ms. Matthiesen’s presentation will discuss the inheritance of personal property.

From 6:00 to 7:00 attendees will have the opportunity to visit with local estate and financial planners to learn what services are available in the area.

From 7:00 to 9:00 there will be an informative talk given by the regionally-renowned speaker, Steve Bohr, of Farm Financial Services, Inc. in Cedar Rapids. Mr. Bohr’s talk will focus on what steps farm families can take to ensure a profitable future for the next generation.

Local financial and estate planners wishing to set up a booth at the event may do so by calling the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District at 563-652-2337 ext. 3 to reserve a spot for a booth. There will be a $10 fee for all vendors.

The event is free and open to the public. This is a very popular workshop and those wishing to attend should call the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District at 563-652-2337 ext. 3 by Tuesday, April 21, to reserve a spot. Light refreshments will be served. ********************************************************************
Thanks for your help in getting the word out about this popular workshop! Sincerely,
Courtney Myers
603 E Platt St.
Maquoketa, IA 52060
563-652-2337 x3


Women Caring For The Land Final Meeting April 4, 2009

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The following is a letter from Laura Krouse announcing the final meeting of the Women Caring for the Land group.  Please join us on April 15th!
Greetings ladies,
The final (at least for now) meeting of “Women Caring for the Land” is going to be Wednesday, April 15, 6:00, at Gwen’s restaurant in Lisbon.  We had such a nice lunch there the day of the field trip, everybody wanted to meet there again.  Gwen’s is right downtown in Lisbon.  She’ll have a Mexican buffet for $8.95, fish and potato bar for $6.95, or maybe a roast beef buffet especially for us for probably $8.95, or you can order off the menu.  The food is good, and there will be plenty of visiting because we’ll all be together in the big room, but be sure to bring your reading glasses because the room is a bit dim.
We’ll meet and eat at 6:00, then start our meeting about 7:00.  Our speaker will be Margaret Smith, co-owner and operator of Ash Grove Farm, near Hampton, IA.  She and her husband raise crops and livestock, and both own and rent land using crop share leases and cash leases.  She will lead “A Conversation about Farm Leasing”, and will address what types of farm leases are available, compare cash renting with crop share leases and talk about why an owner might prefer one method over the other, go over the yearly time schedule for leases and owner/operator discussions, discuss how to express your wants and needs about your land to others, and offer ideas about where to go for additional information about farm leases.
We’ll also talk a bit about how to read your conservation plan, and if we have time, see a short conservation/water quality video that has just been released.  I’ll have all the handouts available so you can pick up anything you’ve missed, or get some information for a friend.
Hope to see you soon,

Recap: Women Caring for the Land Field Trip March 26, 2009

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Caroline here.  I posted a recap of yesterday’s Women Caring for the Land field trip over at Bleeding Heartland and La Vida Locavore.  Here’s my post, but you should check out Bleeding Heartland and La Vida Locavore anyway!


On Wednesday morning, I piled into the back of a white passenger van alongside seven other women.  Four more vehicles carrying ten more women lined up to form a caravan behind us.  “I apologize in advance, ladies,” explained our guide for the day, Laura Krouse, with a smile. “You’re never going to look at this farmland the same way again!”  With that disclaimer, we rolled north out of the church parking lot in Mount Vernon to tour almost 100 miles of farmland in Johnson, Jones, and Linn Counties.

Our field trip on Wednesday, March 25th was the second gathering of Women Caring for the Land, a free McKnight Foundation conservation program coordinated by the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.  Project coordinator Laura Krouse (of Abbe Hills Farm) held a series of introductory meetings in mid-February, gathering women landowners throughout the three counties to learn more about conservation practices in agriculture.  This field trip was our chance to reunite and take what we learned in the introductory meetings out into the field.  With Laura Krouse as our instructor, we toured the countryside, keeping an eye out for the upsides (wide waterways, impressive terraces, conservation reserve program prairies, and beautiful wetlands) and downsides (deep gullies, hog confinements, and non-existent waterways) of eastern Iowa agriculture.

Women Caring for the Land is designed to give women landowners information and confidence, helping women make informed decisions about their land.  The sessions, thus far, have certainly been both informative and confidence-building.  We learned more about farming and each other as we delighted in the warmth of Susan Jutz’s hoop house at ZJ Farm in Solon and bonded over a delicious lunch at Gwen’s in Lisbon.  By the end of our field trip, several of the women in our van were pointing out the windows and shouting, “Deep gully!”  or “Great waterway!”  Even more important, they (and I) were peppering Laura with all kinds of questions about waterways, drain tiles, and contouring, among other things.

When we parted for the day, we did so with the promise that we would see each other again at the concluding meeting on April 15th.  While I’m not a landowner or a native-born Iowan, I’ve been tagging along as a woman interested in farming and conservation, and I’m far from disappointed.  I’m grateful to the women of Women Caring for the Land for teaching me a great deal about farming, women, conservation, and Iowa.  And I look forward to seeing them again on April 15th!


Women Caring For the Land Field Day (3/25) March 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroline@LFC @ 10:45 am
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Calling all women interested in conservation!
You’re invited to attend the Women Caring for the Land field day on Wednesday, March 25th with facilitator Laura Krouse. This field day is a follow-up to the introductory meetings held throughout February in Linn, Jones, and Johnson Counties. (I wrote about the Johnson County meeting here.)
All are welcome, so even if you didn’t make it out to the introductory
meeting, join us for the field day. No RSVP necessary. Simply meet the group at 9.30am at St. John’s Catholic Church in Mt. Vernon, 1 block north and east of the intersection of Highways 1 and 30. (See Google map here.)
We will be touring unfenced cattle, terraces, nice and not so nice waterways, wetlands, confinement hog houses, restored prairie, and more!
The tour will return us, post-lunch, to the St. John’s parking lot around 2:30pm.  Be sure to bring lunch money. Hope to see you there!