As I've gotten older, I've had more free time and opportunities to become involved with organizations at the local and state level. Working with these groups, whether it's simply through supporting them through my membership dues, attending conferences, or doing hands on advocacy and volunteering, has given me the privilege to explore my own priorities and beliefs about local foods as well as to see how non-profits work from the inside out.
I'd like to begin by talking about some organizations that are local to Iowa but deserve (and have) national and international support. All the photos come from the websites of the respective organizations and the source is linked to the photo.
Seed Savers Exchange
SSE is a center for all things heirloom. I'm hoping to attend the campout this summer, and they are the source for most of my seeds.
If you join before April 30th, your $40 membership includes a subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine!
Women, Food, and Agriculture Network
I've written about these women here before, and you should definitely consider becoming a member. Denise O'Brien, their founder, is in Afghanistan doing great work for agriculture. Read about why she wanted to go here, though the link for the Register article isn't working.
Iowa Valley Food Cooperative
The IVFC is a newly formed Cooperative opening in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area soon. It's a direct farm to consumer buying group. Tons of great vendors have joined so far, including yours truly! Sign up now and I'll be keeping you updated here as we make decisions about the group.
Johnson County Local Foods Alliance
The Johnson County Local Foods Alliance is a great organization that is responsible for a lot of valuable programs in the area, including Field to Family, Buy Fresh Buy Local, and Farm to School. I'm going to be listed in Johnson County's Buy Fresh Buy Local directory this year, and am working on the Farm to School committee to help with school gardens. I've featured their Culinary Walk two times on this blog, and can't wait to go again this year.
Finally I'd like to tell you about two exciting food-related events that I'll be attending in Iowa City in the near future in the hopes that you'll consider coming to each of them, and maybe saying hi!
The first is this weekend, Saturday April 30th from 10a.m.-12p.m. and it's the Backyard Abundance annual plant sale. Backyard Abundance is an Iowa City organization that focuses on making edible landscapes throughout the community. They work in schools, businesses, and private homes. The plant sale is an opportunity to learn some interesting stuff (there's even a Terry Wahls lecture at 9 a.m.!), buy some healthy local plants, and to bid on some items to support the organization. I'll be there volunteering for the Master Gardeners, so stop by and say hello and ask me some questions about container gardening. The event is at the Rec Center downtown.
Finally, I'd like to announce an event that's very close to my heart. For months now I've been helping to plan an Eat-In to celebrate the first farmer's market of the season. I wait a looooong winter for some fresh produce, so I think the first market is a reason enough to celebrate, but Bethany Bender, an Americorps Vista employee, had the idea to put together a potluck where we declare the importance of local foods, and gathering together as a community to support them. The event is May 7th at 12, which is when the market ends. Here is our Facebook event page. The event is supported by Slow Food Iowa City, which is another organization worthy of your support. Consider coming to the party, bringing your favorite dish, and sharing some food with your neighbors to celebrate our community and the return of fresh food!
It's also Simple Lives Thursday! I apologize for getting it up so late, but there are still lots of great posts for your to read and you're still welcome to link up. Check it out after the jump: