WEST BRANCH, Iowa — A new open house series launching in 2022 will invite rural neighbors and the general public to see table food farmers in their native habitat – on their farms!
The USDA recently awarded the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust nearly $175,000 for its “Small Farm Summer: Marketing Iowa’s Local Farms to Their Neighbors” initiative. The investment will promote and host 24 farm-based events over three years across rural Iowa. Open houses will include tours and unique events on each farm from cooking demonstrations to land histories and kid-friendly activities. Visitors will also get information about the many ways preserving table food farms on Iowa’s landscape makes Iowa a better place to live.
SILT is a nonprofit land trust that works with landowners to permanently dedicate their land to sustainable table food farming. The farms featured in this project are all protected by SILT.
2022 partners include
Driftless Hills Farm near Decorah
Jupiter Ridge Farm near Elkader
Red Fern Farm in Wapello
Phoenix Farm in Iowa City
Grade A Gardens in Earlham
Bee Haven Farm in Solon
The open house list will grow by 2 new farms each year.
“This next generation of farmers needs all the help it can get rebuilding our local and regional food system,” said SILT Community Engagement Specialist Suzan Erem. “We’re asking farmers to be experts in growing multiple crops, then professional marketers and delivery drivers. This project will help them build a market that comes right to their farms. And customers love visiting these kinds of farms!”
SILT matched more than $52,000 for a total investment of $225,773 over three years. People interested in the event schedule should sign up for SILT monthly updates on its website.
The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust was launched in 2015 to preserve land for nature-friendly fruit, vegetable and livestock production. By protecting land for sustainable food farming, SILT increases the amount of fresh, ripe food in the Midwest; permanently improves water and soil quality; rebuilds our rural economy; mitigates climate change; increases our independence from global forces; reduces the cost of land for farmers and diversifies our agricultural economy.
–Sustainable Iowa Land Trust