Small Container Gardening

Spring seems like it is slowly creeping in.  Which means I am starting to think about being outside and possibly trying to grow some stuff.  This year I am trying something new, small container gardening.  If you do not have a backyard, have space restrictions, or want something that is convenient this is the perfect option for you. There are great resources available to help folks start their own container gardens.   Resources: Cultivate Iowa - http://www.cultivateiowa.org/garden/ "Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces" by Gayla Trail         ...
Read More

Registration now open for the April 8th Iowa Local Food Conference

Keynotes and panels will highlight the growing number of opportunities available to food producers in their local networks. Conference attendees can participate in three tracks: food hubs, processing centers, and marketing.   Registration is now open at: www.leopold.iastate.edu/2014-iowa-local-food-conference<http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/2014-iowa-local-food-conference>   Reduced-price early registration ends on March 28. The conference is geared to general audiences, students and vendors, and will be of interest to small growers, business owners and food service personnel, as well as others who are interested in the growing local food system in Iowa.   Contact Lynn Heuss for details, including scholarship application questions, at leheuss@i   Keynote speaker Lucie Amundson is the marketing brainchild behind her family's pasture-raised chicken business, Locally Laid. Her social media savvy led Locally Laid to the final four in a national competition for small businesses to earn a 30-second TV spot at the Super Bowl.   Sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Local Food and Farm Initiative (LFFI) and the Iowa Food System Working Group with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the...
Read More

Searching for Gold

With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, many people are turning their attention to all things green. The same is always true here at Prairie Rivers of Iowa. We are all green when it comes to conservation and natural resources. We are also looking for those with some gold or green to partner with us to continue to move our mission forward to help our communities with natural resources and conservation. Are you willing to help us? Giving is easy through Dwolla. Also, if you are on a nature hike this next week and curious about how to find a four-leaf clover, here is a helpful how-to: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Four-Leaf-Clover ...
Read More

Work on New Cabins Continues

The Iowa outdoors provide scenic summer views and breathtaking color in the fall. Prairie Rivers of Iowa hopes that local residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy these natural beauties year round. The Log products program has assisted the Hamilton County conservation board to construct several white oak cabins.   Local publications are taking notice of the unlimited potential the cabins will bring to local tourism. The Daily Freeman-Journal recently chronicled the cabins progress.(http://www.freemanjournal.net/page/content.detail/id/523606/Work-on-new-cabin-continues.html?nav=5006 )   The Log Products program provides conservation boards across Iowa with future opportunities to increase tourism and local revenue.  ...
Read More

First of Two Listening Sessions to be Held to Discuss the Squaw Creek Watershed

Two listening sessions will be held to discuss the Squaw Creek Watershed on March 10th from 3:00-4:30pm at the Stanhope Community Center and then again on March 11th from 3:00-4:30pm at Gilbert City Hall. We are asking people to come and talk about the watershed and to ask questions to our board. There will also be informational material to read on the watershed.   Penny Brown Huber, Executive Director of Prairie Rivers of Iowa and a subconsultant on the project says, “Our focus in the planning project will be to engage and educate the public about the watershed.  We want to hear from all the residents in our watershed in order to create a plan that will lead us over time to make improvements in water quality while we address flooding and water quantity issues. ”   Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) from Oakdale, Minnesota was hired to facilitate the planning process.  EOR is a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm that...
Read More

Cooking with Conifers?

Did you know you could use conifers in your cooking in a similar fashion to any other herb you might have lying around? The normal time for collecting it is in the spring when the fresh, new, young, tender tips are out, which is kind of true with most all of your plants: young, fresh, tender. These do handle themselves very well in as much as you can freeze them so you can use them later. But when you’re collecting them, you want to keep in mind that what you’re taking is that year’s growth, so you take it sparingly. You don’t just go in and ravage the tree; you take it here and there because any place you take it from a tree is going to affect that year’s growth. It’s like anything else when you’re pruning, you want to balance it. You can do something as simple as taking some white pine and infusing it, just putting it into some nice...
Read More

Local Food 101

Defining "local food" can be a difficult task.  The Oxford American-English Dictionary defines local as, "belonging or relating to a particular area or neighborhood, typically exclusively so". Local food currently has no legal or universally recognized definition.  The USDA's 2010 "Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues" report, describes the ongoing difficulty with trying to define what local food is.  The USDA's definition of local food is, "food produced, processed, and distributed within a particular geographic boundary that consumers associate with their own community". The better way to approach the situation may be to look at the benefits of local food systems. Economic: create jobs, support local businesses and people, potentially reduce healthcare costs Social: increase access to healthier, less processed foods, create an interconnected, supportive community Environmental: reduce fossil fuel consumption, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, utilize more sustainable production practices   How to get involved: Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area Support your local Farmers' Market Buy local food products at the grocery store Plant a garden  ...
Read More
Lobby for Byways

Lobby for Byways

In January we were busy getting ready to speak to our state legislators. After the Travel Federation of Iowa's Legislative Showcase, we attended Transportation Day at the Capitol. As a byway manager, we felt it was important to explain the importance of byways and the need for additional funding. We set up an Iowa Byways display with some of the other byway managers inside of the capitol rotunda and we were able to educate people about the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and the unique features byways have to offer. We attended the Transportation Day briefing at the Wallace Building which was a great event to hear a number of people speak and lobby for an increase in funding for Iowa's roads. We were able to hear from the director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, Paul Trombino. There are many roads and bridges in disrepair throughout the state and the increased funding would help with some of the most critical issues...
Read More