Among area residents, there is a desire to continue the efforts of Mike and Cindy Elwick. The Vinton couple had started something that is becoming more common in cities around the country, a location to grow organic produce.

In the heart of rural America, you might not see this as a need. However, many do not garden like they used to 40 or 50 years ago.

There is an area group wanting to continue this vision and have mapped out an outline of ways to accomplish it.

The Vision and Commitment:

The group first imagined success and described what a successful 2019 season would look like. The response of the group included: More people fed, a county wide support base, Sustainable funding sources, more organizations involved including farm to school, setting a state-wide example, nutrition and gardening education, new leadership, distribution to at-risk individuals, maintaining an attractive garden, research, saving the heritage of the farm, and keeping the county supervisors happy.

The group then asked themselves what their strengths and weaknesses were as a group to make this vision of success a reality. They also considered some of the benefits of success along with the associated risks.

Strengths

Interest, Hard work, Knowledge In gardening, History of the organization, Business Facilities already in place, Nutrition education program, Experience, Organization, Communication, Local base of NCCC AmeriCorps volunteers.

 

Benefits

People are fed, Education, Local, Nutrition, Cooking, Community Pride, Community Buy-in

 

Weaknesses

Volunteer coordination

Money

Marketing / Communication Support

Burnout

 

Risks

Waste of food, Change in plans, Weather, Burnout

The group then defined what they were committed to achieving. The group committed to the following:

Commitments

Keep this property growing food

Applying for grants

Getting volunteers

Education on the farm

Keeping the CSA going

Explore becoming a non-profit

ISU Extension initially serving as fiscal agent

Action plan

Next the group brainstormed all of the actions that would have to be taken to make these commitments a reality.

After listing the actions, they were grouped into four categories based. From these categories we created four committees who would be responsible for making these actions happen they are: Management, Labor Management, Marketing & Outreach, Education.

Each group also chose a team lead who will organize that groups meetings and interface with the leaders of the other groups. Those four leads will serve as an informal board of directors in the interim.

Board of Directors

Greg Walston – Management Team

Eileen Loan– Labor Team

Erin Monahan – Marketing & Outreach Team

Dan Roesler– Education Team

The team members for each team area

Management Team: Greg Walston, Rick Primmer, Phil Borleske, John Kemp, Bev Wittmer, Kris Birker

Labor Team: Eileen Loan, Mike/Cindy Elwick, Anna Yeagle, Jeff Sindelar, Mark Droessler, Maureen Haisman , Rob Levis

Marketing & Outreach Team: Erin Monaghan, Emily Hanson, Barb Ender-Wright, Jim Harken

Education Team: Dan Roesler, Carolyn Frazier, Dana Sanders

Each team also organized the actions that they will take by month and as a group we set follow up “all team” meetings that will take place. That calendar is below.

All teams committed to meeting at least once in the next couple of weeks, and the team leads will have a meeting by October 15 to update one another on their progress.

This is a community effort. If you would like to join in, feel free to contact Greg gwalston@iastate.edu