Events coming up this weekend and next week

Not a whole lot is happening yet, but things will pick up quickly once the legislature is back in session, beginning January 12.

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know of an event I’ve left out.

Saturday, January 3:

The Iowa Citizen Action Network is organizing a “Roadmap to Economic Recovery” town hall meeting from 10:30 am to noon at the Bidwell Riverside Center, 1203 Hartford in Des Moines. For more details about the event, read this post at Century of the Common Iowan.

Monday, January 5:

At 10 am the Des Moines Register’s editorial board will interview top Iowa Republicans in the legislature: Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen, and House Minority Whip Linda Upmeyer. People will be able to watch the interviews live at the Register’s website.

Tuesday, January 6:

At 9:30 am the Register’s editorial board will interview top Iowa Democrats in the legislature: Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, House Speaker Pat Murphy, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. People will be able to watch the interviews live at the Register’s website.

Thursday, January 8:

From the Iowa Environmental Council e-mail bulletin, via Angela Clark of enrgPATH:

Sustainable Business After Hours meet monthly at Mars Café, the second Thursday of every month. Jan 8 is the next one at 5:30 p.m. This is for anyone in business that is interested in hearing about how others are incorporating sustainability into their business. We feature a non-profit group each month from the Sustainability spectrum as well. Hope to see you there!

Practical Farmers of Iowa is giving you a chance to see the documentary “King Corn” and meet the film-makers:

The movie King Corn is coming to Des Moines, along with co-star Curt Ellis and director Aaron Woolf, for a Practical Farmers of Iowa fundraiser on January 8. The screening will be at the Fleur Cinema, and movie time is 7:00. After the movie, join Curt Ellis and Aaron Woolf for dessert, drinks, and discussion.

King Corn’s Curt Ellis: “We are supporting Practical Farmers of Iowa through this fundraiser because they provide a vision for what all Iowa agriculture might look like a generation from now: family-driven farms growing healthy and sustainable food in thriving local communities.”

King Corn tracks two college kids’ quest to understand the food system.  “As city kids from the coasts, we had no idea that the food we were eating–meat, milk, or soda–had its roots on a corn farm.  When we found out just how much of our diet was coming from that one crop, we decided to see the Corn Kingdom for ourselves,” said Curt. “We moved to Iowa , grew an acre of corn, and followed the fate of our crop as food. Along the way, we found out some wonderful things about agriculture, and some disconcerting things about our food.”

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and $10 for students. To purchase tickets, call Suzi at (515)232-5661 or fill out and send in the ticket order form.

Sponsors for this fundraiser are Des Moines Area Community College , Drake University Environmental Science and Policy Program, Environmental Nutrition Solutions, Iowa Farmers Union, Sage, Slow Food Des Moines, and the Wallace House Foundation.

Practical Farmers of Iowa includes a diverse group of farmers and nonfarmers. Corn, soybeans, beef cattle, and hay are the top enterprises for PFI farmers, although many have a variety of other operations, including fruits and vegetables. PFI’s programming stresses farmer-to-farmer networking through research and demonstration, field days, conferences, and more. For more information, call (515)232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

Friday, January 9:

The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women is having a lunch and learn to discuss its legislative agenda for the coming session:

12 noon – 1 p.m.

State Capitol, Room 116

Free and open to the public * Bring your lunch and join us!

2009 Policy Agenda

1.      Enhance protections for equal pay.

2.      Provide sustainable funding for domestic violence and sexual assault centers across the state.

3.      Extend gender balance requirement on boards and commissions to political subdivisions of the state.

4.      Support policy and research to assist low-income women entering skill shortage areas.

The annual conference of Practical Farmers of Iowa opens in Marshalltown:

The 2009 PFI conference, “Biological Harvest: The Sustainable Farmer’s Hidden Opportunity,” will take place at Marshalltown Community College January 9 and 10. Keynote speaker Joel Huesby, fourth-generation farmer who farms in Washington State, speaks with great optimism about the future of agriculture and the tremendous opportunities for “farming with the sun.” Friday evening of the conference King Corn co-star Curt Ellis and director Aaron Woolf will show a sneak preview of their new film, tentatively titled “Big River,” that looks at the environmental impacts of high-intensity corn production. Dave Baker from the Beginning Farmer Center is available for private consultations. Holistic veterinarian Will Winter will host a one-on-one coffee shop Saturday. Other highlights include: business meeting, member posters, Iowa-grown meals, silent auction, and many opportunities to network with fellow farmers and agriculture advocates. The conference offers a diverse line-up of workshops. For more information or to register, visit www.practicalfarmers.org or contact Suzi Berhnard, (515)232-5661, suzi@practicalfarmers.org.

Saturday, January 10:

From the Iowa Environmental Council e-mail bulletin:

A meeting of anyone interested in habitat and water quality issues in the Walnut Creek Watershed will occur on Saturday, January 10, in the morning. The exact time and place will be announced later. Walnut Creek is a tributary of the Raccoon River, and it has significant rural and urban watershed areas. The tentative meeting schedule includes an introductory slide presentation and overview, interest- and issue-based working groups, and discussion of outreach to communities and potential funding sources. If you want a detailed announcement of the meeting, please send an email to Lee Searles at searleslr@msn.com or contact him at 515-979-6457.

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