# Practical Farmers Of Iowa

Open thread with events coming up this week

I didn’t have time to pull this together yesterday, but here’s a late weekend open thread. Share whatever’s on your mind.

(UPDATE: If you think you know American history, see how well you do on Charles Lemos’ Presidents’ Day trivia quiz. Each president is the correct answer to only one question.)

After the jump I’ve posted details on many events coming up this week. I hope to attend the screening of the “Big River” documentary in Des Moines on February 18. It’s a sequel to the must-watch “King Corn,” and the screening is a joint benefit for the Iowa Environmental Council and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

If you are a Democratic candidate in Iowa, please e-mail me your list of upcoming events so I can include them in these threads. (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com)

Oxfam America “is seeking Des Moines area volunteers to lend 5-8 hours of time per week to help them raise awareness of the impacts of climate change on global communities and encourage action to alleviate it.” If you’re interested, you need to contact them by February 15 (information below).

Have a laugh at this from the Onion: New law would ban marriages between people who don’t love each other.

New Law Would Ban Marriages Between People Who Don’t Love Each Other

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Weekend open thread and events coming up during the next ten days

This thread is for anything on your mind this weekend. After the jump I’ve posted details about lots of upcoming events in early February.

If you want to watch Senator Chuck Grassley do the “Friday Happy Dance” on WHO-TV, head on over to Dave Price’s blog.

The Polk County Democrats need more submissions of original recipes for the “Liberally Seasoned” cookbook they are compiling. By February 6, send polkdems AT gmail.com a word document including your full name and precinct, a paragraph about the dish, and a picture of the dish or yourself if possible. Categories: salads, appetizers, main dishes, vegetarian, desserts and drinks. They plan to have the cookbook ready by the Polk County Convention on March 12. For questions, call 515-285-1800.

DAWN’s List, which works to elect Democratic pro-choice women in Iowa, is seeking nominations for awards that will be given in five categories. Details are below, and nominations are due by the end of the day on February 1.

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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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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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