Weekly Bits – Aug 4









Fifteen young farmers and five other guests attended SILT’s first Farm Open House at its newest farm in Calmar, south of Decorah June 25. They learned more about the SILT application process, walked the farm and heard about its history.


“There’s a lot of interest,” said Board Member Kayla Koether, who helped turn out the crowd. “This is such a beautiful place and a great opportunity.” Koether, a young farmer herself, chaired the SILT Farmer Committee that developed the vetting criteria and application process.


Applications are now open. SILT is offering 70 acres of pasture, small grain and timber land plus a 4-bedroom energy-efficient home and outbuildings for less than $20,000/year to the sustainable food farmer who shows the best potential for success. Deadline for applications is August 14. Late applications will not be reviewed. Go to  silt.org for application materials and more information.


FOOD SYSTEMS – Teresa Wiemerslage & Kayla Koether

CHANGING DRIVERS  I’ve been blessed to have been in the driver’s seat of the NE Iowa food system bus for a large portion of the last ten years. I’ve had some great co-pilots. Some left the work completely, allowing for new leadership to emerge. The work always adapted. Now, it’s my turn. This Friday is my last day in the driver’s seat. I start a new chapter next week.


EARLY CHILDHOOD – Haleisa Johnson

Echo Valley State Park is located just a few miles from West Union on Echo Valley Road. This beautiful treasure offers walking and hiking trails, camping, and trout fishing.  Limestone bluffs and outcroppings create wonderful backdrops and scenery.  There is a stone shelter house with a fireplace, a great local for family reunions, picnics, and sleep overs. More.


ACTIVE LIVING – Ashley Christensen

Ten young racing fans will win new bicycles this summer because they attended the races at the Upper Iowa Speedway. In an effort to get more families out to the races, the track owner found sponsors and worked with the bike shop to get the bikes. One bike is given away each week because, “everyone can use a new bike!”




KIDS CLUB WAS PREPARED  RAGBRAI XLV came to Waukon and students were prepared by a bike rodeo at East and West Elementary and Waterville’s Kids Club. Traci Byrnes, Ride Right Committee Member, explained what RAGBRAI was and shared some important safety information for the youth during RAGBRAI’s travels through our county. Information shared included the fascinating fact that RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest multi day recreation bicycle tour in the world! More.



FARMER FEATURE  Wendy Johnson, of Joia Food Farm, is making the news with this NPR story about their farm. Wendy is a member of the NE Iowa Food and Farm Network and sells through the Iowa Food Hub as well as several other markets.

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