Events coming up this week

I didn’t manage to compile calendars the past couple of weeks, but I wanted to get back on track today, because there are lots of newsworthy events happening in the coming week around Iowa.

I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the DAWN’s List reception honoring outstanding Iowa Democratic women tomorrow. I’d appreciate it if someone who attends would post a comment or a diary here about the reception.

Other notable events this week include a symposium in Des Moines about Iowa’s 2008 floods, a sustainable communities conference in Dubuque, and a public workshop in Ankeny about competition and regulatory issues in the agriculture industry. Details on those and other happenings are after the jump.

Keep checking John Deeth’s blog for news about statewide, Congressional and state legislative candidate filings, which continue through March 19.

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USDA names Iowa Farm Service Agency committee members

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the names of five appointees to the Iowa Farm Service Agency State Committee yesterday. John Judge, Maria Vakulskas Rosmann, Matthew Russell, Richard Machacek, and Gary Lamb “will oversee the activities of the agency to include carrying out the state agricultural conservation programs, resolving appeals from the agriculture community and helping to keep producers informed about FSA programs.”

After the jump I’ve posted the USDA’s November 23 press release, which contains brief biographical information about the appointees. John Judge is the husband of Iowa Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge. She mentioned at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday that they just celebrated their 40th anniversary.

I was happy to see two well-known voices from the sustainable agriculture community appointed to this USDA committee. Rosmann’s family runs a diverse organic farm and has been active with Practical Farmers of Iowa since the 1980s. I know Russell from his involvement in the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture, and I’ve also bought produce from his farm at the downtown Des Moines farmer’s market.

Congratulations to all the new Farm Service Agency State Committee members.

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For Blog Action Day: Iowa non-profits against global warming

More than 10,000 blogs around the world are writing something about climate change on October 15 to mark “Blog Action Day.”

If you’re concerned about global warming, you may already have made small changes to reduce your own “carbon footprint.” You can significantly lower your energy consumption (and save money) with simple steps like hanging your laundry to dry and turning the thermostat down a few degrees in cold weather.

I also encourage you to get involved with at least one non-profit organization that works to reduce global warming. Whether you become an active volunteer or send a small donation once a year, your support will make a difference.

Here are 15 Iowa non-profits that deserve broad-based support. Although not all of them mention climate change in their mission statements, they all promote activities, land uses and public policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

1000 Friends of Iowa

Center on Sustainable Communities

Environment Iowa

Iowa Bicycle Coalition

Iowa Environmental Council

Iowa Global Warming Campaign

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Iowa Interfaith Power and Light

Iowa Network for Community Agriculture

Iowa Renewable Energy Association

Plains Justice

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Repower Iowa

Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter

Trees Forever

In this comment thread, please recommend other non-profit groups working to reduce climate change.

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Links to help you find local foods in Iowa

The weather was perfect on Sunday for visiting three farms near Woodward in central Iowa. Yesterday I picked up some grass-fed beef from Wallace Farms. Today I’m looking forward to my weekly box of vegetables from One Step at a Time Gardens. So, it seemed like a good time for another post on finding and eating local food.

For inspiration, check in on Rob Marqusee’s local food challenge. For the whole month of June, Rob is eating only food grown within 100 miles of the Woodbury County Courthouse (located in Sioux City, Iowa). Also, he is not eating any meat. As you can see from his journal (scroll down for the most recent updates), he’s eating well and feeling great despite the “sad moment” when he used up the last bit of his blue corn flour for pancakes.

Few of us are as committed or ambitious as Marqusee, but that doesn’t mean we can’t significantly change the way we eat. A few shifts in your attitude, shopping and cooking habits can make a big difference.

Although your nearby grocery store may sell some local fruits and vegetables in the summer, your best bet is to find a way to buy directly from farmers. This page lists 126 farmers markets and fruit stands in Iowa. Many other farmers sell fresh food in urban parking lots or along country roads.

There’s a fantastic resource for Iowans in the northeastern part of the state: the 2009 Buy Fresh Buy Local Food Directory, published by the Northern Iowa Food & Farm Partnership (NIFFP) at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy & Environmental Education. This guide covers grocers, farmers markets, local food producers and restaurants that serve local foods in Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Grundy, Mitchell and Tama counties. From a press release:

“New additions to the directory this year include a chart that shows the best times to buy Iowa fruits and vegetables, information on how to buy locally grown meat, and a list of 2009 local food events,” says Andrea Geary, NIFFP coordinator.

You can download this guide for free by going to UNI’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education site, clicking on “Local Foods” and scrolling down to “Find Local Foods Near You.”

The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture has lots of good links here for consumers interested in local foods.

Diana Bauman has more local food links, along with recipes and updates on her garden, at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

If you live within striking distance of the Des Moines area, consider joining the Iowa Food Cooperative.

Please share your own local food tips or stories in this thread.

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Events coming up this weekend and next week

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

Friday, January 30:

Congressman Bruce Braley is holding a town hall meeting on the economic stimulus at 10:00 am at the Grand River Center (meeting rooms 2 and 3), 500 Bell Street in Dubuque. Braley’s town hall meetings on the economy are free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://braley.house.gov.

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

with special guest Congressman Leonard Boswell and State Affirmative Action Chair Shenica Graham will sing a tribute song she wrote for President Obama, “I Believe.”

Special presentation of appreciation for 2008 candidates: Nita Garvin, Dr. Alan Koslow, Matt Pfaltzgraf, John Scarpino, Richard Sosalla, Jerry Sullivan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Please bring a food item for the Des Moines Area Religious Council to be distributed to the local food pantries.

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email polkdems@gmail.com or Ankenyareadems@msn.com

Saturday, January 31:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

IRR is developing a River Stewards Program to address concerns about the public’s general disconnect from rivers.  We have conducted a couple of brainstorming sessions in recent months and have envisioned River Rascals, a river steward program that will offer opportunities for youth to learn more about the importance of rivers and problems associated with them.  We want to engage educators and anyone interested to help develop and implement a program for youth that focuses on river appreciation, recreation and stewardship. We invite you to the upcoming planning session to help make the vision a reality!

River Rascal Program Planning Session

Saturday, January 31, 2009, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Polk County Conservation Board’s Jester Park Lodge, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger, IA

Agenda: Provide ideas and feedback on draft program details, including curriculum, educators/presenters/partners/mentors, potential participants, venue options, and funding options

No cost (pizza and beverages will be brought in – small cash contribution welcome)

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org or 515-202-7720

Tuesday, February 3:

Ed Fallon will discuss civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples on Jan Mickelson’s radio show. Mickelson is a local Rush Limbaugh clone, and I’M for Iowa is encouraging supporters of marriage equality to listen and call in. The show runs from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. on WHO Radio (1040 AM), and you can participate by calling (515) 284-1040.

One Iowa is organizing a forum on marriage equality at 7:00 pm in the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 834 Broad St. in Grinnell.

Wednesday, February 4:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

Iowa Rivers Revival invites you to join us for a legislative reception to engage Iowa legislators about the importance of our rivers and how they provide many economic, environmental and recreational resources for our state.  Come and share your river experiences. […]  

Our first reception held in January 2008 was a great success – over 50 supporters, including bi-partisan representation from at least 15 Iowa legislators, attended the last-minute event.  This reception provides an opportunity for Iowa’s political leaders to recognize that rivers have representation and an increasing base of support advocating on their behalf.  The purpose of this reception is to raise awareness and to continue having conversations about the issues concerning Iowa’s rivers and our connections to rivers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Noodle Zoo Café

E 6th & Locust, Des Moines

4:30 – 6:30 PM

No cost

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

The Iowa Recycling Association is sponsoring an Educators Conference on February 4, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. Topics and Speakers include “Green Streets”:  Jeff Geerts, Iowa Department of Economic Development; “Marketing Programs on a Budget”:  Mark Signs, Trees Forever; “Character Counts”:  Eric Martin, Character Counts; “Partnerships for Effective Education”:  Mary Gillespey, Darven Kendell, Bev Wagner. Pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $30 before January 1, 2009 and $40 after January 1. A waste free lunch will be provided. Register online at http://www.iowarecycles.org/co… and send payment to: Iowa Recycling Association,  PO Box 10954, Cedar Rapids, IA  52410. For more information contact: Bev Wagner, beverly.wagner@loras.edu or 563-588-7933.

Friday, February 6:

The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture is holding its 14th Annual Local Food Conference on February 6-7 in Clear Lake. The conference is an opportunity to connect the local food “dots” in North Iowa, expand your local food knowledge with dynamic workshops, and celebrate the capacity to sustain ourselves and our communities. Come meet and eat with other local food enthusiasts. Full conference information at http://www.growinca.org.

There will also be a “slow food fundraiser” for INCA in the evening:

SLOW FOOD FUNDRAISER FOR INCA

FRIDAY, FEB. 6, STARTS at 5:30pm

LAKE COFFEE HOUSE – HWY. 122 (old hwy. 18), CLEAR LAKE, IA (next to Subway – please call if you need directions)

COST: $20

INCLUDES:

Two wine tastings

Fabulous Iowa-produced appetizers

Great Iowa-produced (and locally-made) soup

and… a Fabulous Iowa chef, author and Slow Food Extraordinaire – Chef Kurt Michael Friese

Additional tickets available at event:

Ticket for one glass of wine – $5

Ticket for 3 extra tastings – $5

Event begins at 5:30 with wine and appetizers.

At 6:30 we’ll hear more from our special guest, Kurt Michael Friese, who will share with us his journeys as chef and owner of local food restaurant icon, Devotay, in Iowa City.  Kurt will also read from his new book with us, A Cook’s Journey – Slow Food in the Heartland, published last August.  Kurt serves on the Board of Directors for Slow Food USA. We are excited to have Kurt join us for this weekend event.

To get tickets and information for Friday’s fundraiser, please contact:

Lisa Stokke

641-529-0445

slowfoodlisa@gmail.com

Send check made out to “SLOW FOOD CLEAR LAKE” to:

Lisa Stokke 909 2nd Ave. S., Clear Lake, Iowa  50428

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

Savanna Workshops for Teachers and Naturalists

Join us for the workshop: Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Savanna, on Feb. 6-8, 2009 and Apr.24-25, 2009 at Baymont Inn, Coralville, IA. Learn how to help your students explore and improve Iowa Prairies/Savanna. For primary through Community College teachers and naturalists. Participants receive 2 UNI graduate credits, materials, meals and housing for only $180 due to grants. For more information please visit http://www.uni.edu/ceee/eii. Request a paper brochure at bollwinkel@uni.edu, or call 319-273-2783.

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Events coming up during the next two weeks

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.

Monday, January 26:

The Iowa Environmental Council has organized a Legislative Reception at the Quality Inn, Rotunda Room, 929 3rd St., Des Moines from 5:00-7:00 pm.  Come talk with members of the Iowa legislature about environmental issues that are important to you.

Tuesday, January 27:

From Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement:

BIG Rally & Lobby Day

Mark your calendars and plan to be at our Rally & Lobby Day at the State Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 27. We need you there to show our legislators that thousands of Iowans will be holding them accountable this legislative session to issues like local control, clean elections, homeowner protections and the rights of all workers.

Decisions made at the Statehouse impact us every day. This is our chance to put our issues at the top of the legislative agenda. Join with us today – click here for more information and REGISTER TODAY!

From the Center on Sustainable Communities:

Tuesday, January 27th

Green Home Interiors Seminar Hosted by COSC

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

DM Green Demo Home

1347 Forest Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50314

The Center on Sustainable Communities is hosting an Interiors seminar on Tuesday, January 27 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm presented by Jeani Lee of Kitchen, Bath & Home and Jamie Malloy of Wells & Associates.  This project is a collaboration between CHDC, COSC, and the City of Des Moines along with many supporting sponsors.  Cost: $10, light refreshments will be served, $5 for COSC members.  Please register by Friday, January 23rd by clicking here or by emailing info@icosc.com. See www.icosc.com and CHDC’s blog for more details.

Thursday, January 29:

From the Iowa Environmental Council’s e-mail newsletter:

Green Networking

Join us January 29 at the Gateway Market in Des Moines, at 5 p.m. Green Drinks of Des Moines has a lively mixture of people from academia, government and business. Come along and you’ll be made welcome. Just say, “Are you green?” and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It’s a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network. These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity. Green Drinks is the last Thursday of each month at Gateway Market on MLK & Woodland at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, January 30:

Congressman Bruce Braley is holding a town hall meeting on the economic stimulus at 10:00 am at the Grand River Center (meeting rooms 2 and 3), 500 Bell Street in Dubuque. Braley’s town hall meetings on the economy are free and open to the public.  Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at http://braley.house.gov.

From Polk County Democrats:

The Ankeny Area Democrats and The Polk County Democrats Present An Inauguration Celebration Dinner At The Iowa State Historical Building

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catered by Baratta’s Restaurant

Social Hour begins at 6:00 PM

Dinner at 7:00 PM

Live music through the Musician’s Union

Tickets $25 per person

Tickets include chicken / pasta dinner and sides, soft drinks, coffee, iced tea or water

Semi-formal attire encouraged, but not required

Tickets available by calling Tamyra at 515-285-1800 or Mary Oliver at 515-964-1227

Email polkdems@gmail.com or Ankenyareadems@msn.com

Saturday, January 31:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

IRR is developing a River Stewards Program to address concerns about the public’s general disconnect from rivers.  We have conducted a couple of brainstorming sessions in recent months and have envisioned River Rascals, a river steward program that will offer opportunities for youth to learn more about the importance of rivers and problems associated with them.  We want to engage educators and anyone interested to help develop and implement a program for youth that focuses on river appreciation, recreation and stewardship. We invite you to the upcoming planning session to help make the vision a reality!

River Rascal Program Planning Session

Saturday, January 31, 2009, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Polk County Conservation Board’s Jester Park Lodge, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger, IA

Agenda: Provide ideas and feedback on draft program details, including curriculum, educators/presenters/partners/mentors, potential participants, venue options, and funding options

No cost (pizza and beverages will be brought in – small cash contribution welcome)

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org or 515-202-7720

Tuesday, February 3:

One Iowa is organizing a forum on marriage equality at 7:00 pm in the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 834 Broad St. in Grinnell.

Wednesday, February 4:

From Iowa Rivers Revival:

Iowa Rivers Revival invites you to join us for a legislative reception to engage Iowa legislators about the importance of our rivers and how they provide many economic, environmental and recreational resources for our state.  Come and share your river experiences. […]  

Our first reception held in January 2008 was a great success – over 50 supporters, including bi-partisan representation from at least 15 Iowa legislators, attended the last-minute event.  This reception provides an opportunity for Iowa’s political leaders to recognize that rivers have representation and an increasing base of support advocating on their behalf.  The purpose of this reception is to raise awareness and to continue having conversations about the issues concerning Iowa’s rivers and our connections to rivers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Noodle Zoo Café

E 6th & Locust, Des Moines

4:30 – 6:30 PM

No cost

RSVP: rlehman@iowarivers.org

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

The Iowa Recycling Association is sponsoring an Educators Conference on February 4, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at Plymouth Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. Topics and Speakers include “Green Streets”:  Jeff Geerts, Iowa Department of Economic Development; “Marketing Programs on a Budget”:  Mark Signs, Trees Forever; “Character Counts”:  Eric Martin, Character Counts; “Partnerships for Effective Education”:  Mary Gillespey, Darven Kendell, Bev Wagner. Pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $30 before January 1, 2009 and $40 after January 1. A waste free lunch will be provided. Register online at http://www.iowarecycles.org/co… and send payment to: Iowa Recycling Association,  PO Box 10954, Cedar Rapids, IA  52410. For more information contact: Bev Wagner, beverly.wagner@loras.edu or 563-588-7933.

Friday, February 6:

The Iowa Network for Community Agriculture is holding its 14th Annual Local Food Conference on February 6-7 in Clear Lake. The conference is an opportunity to connect the local food “dots” in North Iowa, expand your local food knowledge with dynamic workshops, and celebrate the capacity to sustain ourselves and our communities. Come meet and eat with other local food enthusiasts. Full conference information at http://www.growinca.org.

From the Iowa Environmental Council:

Savanna Workshops for Teachers and Naturalists

Join us for the workshop: Iowa’s Roadside Native Communities: Savanna, on Feb. 6-8, 2009 and Apr.24-25, 2009 at Baymont Inn, Coralville, IA. Learn how to help your students explore and improve Iowa Prairies/Savanna. For primary through Community College teachers and naturalists. Participants receive 2 UNI graduate credits, materials, meals and housing for only $180 due to grants. For more information please visit http://www.uni.edu/ceee/eii. Request a paper brochure at bollwinkel@uni.edu, or call 319-273-2783.

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