Happy New Year to you all!  I hope your resolutions are holding strong!

The “off season” has allowed us to make improvements to some of our infrastructure.  Just a few weeks ago Eric did some great work in my indoor nursery.  We recently expanded the space and so Eric made the whole area one unified room by painting the floor and walls.  He also constructed a permanent shelving system and moved my soil table from the garage to the nursery.  This will streamline the space and make growing microgreens and some of my plant starts more efficient.  I’m loving the improvement and it will allow me to grow more product!

Tomorrow morning I’m hitting the road to make a mini road trip to go see one of my market gardening mentors, Jean Martin Fortier.  JM is speaking in Lincoln, Nebraska and I’m stoked to go see him in the flesh!  His book, The Market Gardener, has been a huge resource for me. When I heard he was coming to the midwest, it was a no-brainer to go see him.  I’m actually looking forward to the making three hour road trip by myself.  I’ll catch up on some farming podcasts (The Farmer to Farmer, Permaculture Voices, and The Sample Hour are some of my favorites) and just get some nice time to myself.

This past week I was able to attend two great events focusing on local food systems in the Des Moines Area.

I was privileged to be on the panel for a Food Still Matters get together.  I was in great company with Ash Bruxvoort from The Iowa Food Coop, Rick Hartman of Small Potatoes Farm, and Aubrey Alvarez from Eat Greater Des Moines.  

The goal of Food Still Matters is to, “explore our relationship with food through community meals (vegan potluck), film screenings and panel discussions. We will explore issues of food insecurity, workers rights, local foods, environmental impacts of food and nutrition.”  The night kicked off with a great vegan potluck and then we had amazing discussions on what’s happening in the Des Moines food scene.  The conversation was very enlightening and educational.

The organization meets monthly, so be sure to follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with other events.  Something to definitely keep on your radar is their upcoming, VeganFest (a healthier alternative to BaconFast.)  VeganFest is February 18th and will feature vegan dishes from Des Moines restaurants.

I also attended a monthly meet up with the group, Growing for Profit.  Growing for Profit is a peer group of market gardens that get together to discuss various topics on growing food for profit.   The meeting began with an amazing potluck.  One thing is for sure, when you attend a potluck with a bunch of farmers, the food will not disappoint!   What I enjoyed the most was the sense of community amongst growers.  The people in attendance were there to offer advice on tools, techniques, pest control, etc. all with the hopes of making each other better farmers. I was able to meet new farmers and establish connections that I will be sure to maintain.

Who else thinks it’s crazy that it’s almost mid January and I had to use an umbrella this morning?!?  Stay dry my friends.