Published Oct 21, 2011

PFI Members invited to “Agriculture for Life,” November 3 in Des Moines

By Ann Seuferer

Annual conference of the Iowa Environmental Council to feature keynote by Frances Moore Lappé

Practical Farmers of Iowa members and friends know how supporting local and responsibly produced foods brings diversity to our landscape, new tastes at our tables and richness to our lives. Across Iowa, more and more people are joining the movement to support sustainable agriculture.

And the Iowa Environmental Council knows that in a state where almost 90 percent of the land works in agricultural production, food choices matter for our air, water and soil. That’s why the Council will explore Iowa’s farm-to-table connection at Agriculture for Life, a daylong conference November 3, 2011, at Drake University in Des Moines.

Keynote speaker Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet, will set an inspirational tone for the day by describing how changing the way people think about environmental challenges may be the key to solving them.

Ricardo Salvador, who many PFI members will remember from Iowa State University’s agronomy faculty, will return to Iowa to present a history of agriculture in the state, including the successes and unintended consequences of the global food system that exists today.

After a lunch featuring local menu items, a panel of policy experts will share practical solutions for building a more sustainable agriculture in Iowa. They will explain how people are organizing to build a better food system and feed Iowans with more foods from Iowa.

All of the panelists in this group farm themselves–working on a small scale (speaker Penny Brown Huber and her husband Gary manage a 24-acre farm near Maxwell) and a large scale (Fred Kirschenmann manages a 2,600 acre organic operation in North Dakota). All of them will share practical ideas for getting more sustainably produced foods on dinner plates across Iowa.

Finally, the Council will present “Stories from a New Food System,” a series of short talks by Iowans who grow, sell, eat, and love local foods. All of them have committed to sustainable practices in their part of the food system and will share what they do with conference guests.

Producers on this panel will include PFI founding member Ron Rosmann, and member Melissa Dunham, representing Grinnell Heritage Farm.

But, of course, you too can be an important part of the day. In addition to a great lineup of speakers, getting to know other attendees from across the state is always a highlight of Iowa Environmental Council conferences!

For more information or to register, visit or call 515-244-1194, extension 210.