Published Aug 10, 2010

Community to Ag Field Day

By Luke Gran

Two weeks in a row, in two parts of the state, farmers and eaters came together to share and celebrate farms and an agriculture of support.

On July 31 PFI beginning farmers Kate Solko (ISU Student Organic Farm), Alice McGary and Nick Leete, (Mustard Seed Community Farm) opened their farm to 20 visitors outside of Ames, IA. On August 8th experienced horticulture farmers Jan Libbey and Tim Landgraf (PFI’s board president) hosted 75 guests to their farm’s 15th anniversary celebration of art, agriculture, and community. See photos of the events below.

Kate Solko manages the Iowa State University Student Organic Farm located on University property at the ISU Horticulture Research Station. Their market is a small CSA with student “work” shares and community member shares.

Beginning farmers Brian Hayward (right) and Greg Van den Berghe (left) share experiences – opportunities and concerns in horticulture.


On to stop 2: Mustard Seed Community Farm.

This small vegetable farm collaborative is experimenting with a non-heirarchical business with profit as only 1/3 of the goal. In addition to profit, the farm seeks to
build community among farmworkers and shareholders, practice non-violence, hospitality, land stewardship, and educate.
For more details on the mission follow this link:

Alice McGary shares the challenge of running a farm with all volunteer labor.

Tours of the vegetable garden

Nicholas Leete in the tomatoes with their trellis system. This included a trial of different mulches (straw, black plastic, and clover).


One Step at a Time Gardens has grown fruits, vegetables, and pastured
poultry for 15 years near Kanawha, IA. The following are photos of the August 8th, 2010 celebration.

Bluegrass musical group “The Porchstompers” entertained the crowd in heat in excess of 100 degrees.

CSA shareholder from central Iowa led a group session on easy food preparation.

Neighbor and farm supporter leads duscussion on drying methods to preserve the harvest at home.

Beginning farmers tour and visit the farm. Tim explains struggles his farm has seen this year with gray leaf spotting in the hoophouse tomatoes.

Tim (center) directs children and adult visitors on a farm tour.

Discussions about soil, planting, rotations, and weather

Interns of the past 2 years at the farm – good laborers are vital to the success of the farm.