Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Frigid week, but a bonus!

Dangerous cold and winds are expected to continue and worsen, so be careful out there this week.  Temperatures and windchill can freeze exposed skin in minutes.  
 Arctic Air Brings Dangerous Wind Chill Temperatures

I did get a chance to build a fun igloo with the kids!  It really helps just to get out of the wind.

Even outside pets should be brought in.  Growing up we trained our dog to stay on her rug by the back door.  We did find him on the couch once, and he would skooch inch by inch off, if me or my brother were lying on the floor nearby watching TV.  

Livestock is also vulnerable, make sure their shelters are holding, their waterers aren't frozen and they have plenty of feed.
Doves enjoying a drink at the heated birdbath

Back up heat, and emergency supplies are always a good idea, especially in cold like this.

Some good news to come out of this is that it can help reduce the number of overwintering insects-hopefully more harmful ones than good ones!  The invasive marmorated stink bug and spotted winged fruit fly can't handle the cold, but often are good at finding shelter inside or under the snow, which is a decent insulator as I found in my igloo above.  
The great hope, especially for Northern and Eastern Iowa, as well as Minnesota is the cold mortality of the Emerald Ash Borer.  A study from the Forest Service in Minnesota showed mortality (die off) rates of 5% of the insects at 0F, 34% at -10F, 79% at -20F and 98% at -30F.

You can also read more at Minnesota Public Radio's blog- 

So finish your outside chores if you have them, grab your favorite hot drink and snuggle in.  Then browse those Seed Catalogs, read a Good Book or listen to some Podcasts!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Podcasts - Regenerative Ag & More

Usually mid winter is a time for reading, reflection and enjoying the time to recharge, almost like hibernation.

I've done a couple posts on books but as I was driving recently listening to some of my favorite podcasts I thought I would share what I listen to.

Interested in books?  Here are those stories-

I do more podcast listening during the summer when physical labor allows, than in the winter when designing demands more of my mental attention.  But I do try to stay caught up by listening at a faster speed, skipping parts or even certain episodes.

Here are the podcasts I'm subscribed to-

Rewild Yourself
Daniel Vitalis, former vegan turned hunter, gatherer and forager, is exploring ways to become more sustainable with regionally sourced foods.  Subscribe here  http://rewildyourself.libsyn.com

I listened to this episode last week and enjoyed his look at Regenerative Agriculture, specifically pasture raised beef, and then how the guest's ranch was misrepresented in the documentary Cowspiracy.

Abundant Future with Matt Powers
Author and teacher Matt Powers, of The Permaculture Student, shares about Regenerative practices, community building & entrepreneurial topics, interviews and more.

The Urban Farm Podcast
This prolific podcaster, Greg Petersen, puts out several episodes per week on various topics related to farming, gardening and homesteading. They have hosted several people from central Iowa on the show.

TopSoil Podcast
Iowa based, more conventional annual row crop focused, but with a goal is to bring awareness to #SoilHealth and the #RegenerativeAg movement.

In this episode they discuss the rise of biologicals Season 2, Episode 7

Sustainable World Radio
This was one I used to listen to often, but just resubscribed.  I had missed it after reinstalling my podcast app awhile back.  Jill Cloutier interviews a variety of guests on topics from organic food, herbalism and essential oils, permaculture and more.

A couple others I listen to - just for fun, productivity and family.
     Mike Rowe's "The Way I Heard It"
          The Art of Manliness Podcast
               Focus on the Family - Daily Broadcast

Of course the first podcast I ever listened to was The Survival Podcast (TSP).

TSP is a daily podcast with an enormous amount of content!  It delves into topics that can help us prepare not necessarily for the Zombie Apocalypse but the many, much more common, little disasters of life - job loss, severe storms, infrastructure hiccups - and how to setup your lifestyle to become less fragile.  Our grandparents wouldn't call it Survivalism, just Common Sense.  Business building, Permaculture, Cooking, Off Grid Living are favorite topics of the show and can help lead to a more resilient existence.  There are also weekly Call-In Shows, Ask the Experts and Interviews.

Jack Spirko didn't introduce me to Permaculture, but he really helped me realize how it connected all of my life experiences and passions.  Along with Diego Footer of Permaculture Voices (sadly no longer producing episodes), Jack encouraged my growth as a Permaculture Designer.

You can listen to Episode 2158 where Jack and I talk about Permaculture in the Suburbs.

Have a great week, stay warm, drive safe and
     Happy Listening!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Grandma knew...


This could about be my grandma in one of her gardens.  I wish I had a picture of her in the garden, and grandpa too for that matter, to share.  I think we do in some of the photo albums at mom and dad's place.  Grandma had the coolest potato slicer, and generally a good bet that she had some homemade cookies in her kitchen, too!

My brother found out the (not-so) hard way in Grandma's kitchen, to look before you leap one day we visited for lunch.  When he thought I had gotten more chocolate chip cookies then he had, and was only given one, he quickly grabbed a second and said, "Jeff got two!" but before I could warn him, Dad nudged me under the table with a sly but subtle grin...

They were oatmeal raisin, which we liked but he didn't!

My brother and I were lucky to grow up nearby, and see them as often as we did.  Grandma always had the hugest rhubarb plants under the purple martin houses they had.  She let wild ground cherries grow wherever they came up in her vegetable garden.  Ground cherry pie was one of my dad's favorites.  Mulberry pie was another she made, with mulberries collected from the tree behind their garage (which grandpa built).  And strawberry rhubarb pie, and crisp, and... you get the idea 😀

She could mend and sew, and enjoyed making quilts.  Most of all she enjoyed her family.  Summer visits were thoroughly enjoyed, but I would imagine Christmas was her favorite time.  Her sons and their families would all visit.  The house was pretty small but everyone fit and so many stories were shared over an astounding array of cookies and treats that she had made the weeks before in preparation.

I drove past their old place Saturday after her funeral.  She had not lived there for several years but the martin house was still up, although they have gone South for the season.  Her clematis vines, now dormant, were still clinging to the trellis on the martin house pole.  Their giant old walnut tree was severely pruned, and not so giant anymore.  Grandpa had trained a squirrel to sit on his lap where he would share a walnut, or maybe some peanuts.  I wonder if the flowers will still be there in the summer - hollyhocks, hens and chicks, impatiens and many more.  Grandma was 100, a few days shy of 101.

Life goes quickly, and the older we get the faster time passes.  As I get older I realize it more and more.  So I'll leave you with this thought this week - when all is said and done we'll have on our memorials the year we were born and the year that we die with a little dash between.

How are you going to live your dash?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

New Year's 2019 Resolutions

We are a few days in to the new year, have you already ditched your New Years Resolution?  I didn't make a resolution, but I did set a couple goals.

Here are a few earth friendly suggestions from Hello Nature Blog if you want to try something new and to get back on track!

Of course if you would like help with a nice looking compost bin or trees of all kinds especially fruit and nut trees, Abundant Design has you covered.  We can even provide a complete site plan to enhance the functionality of your landscaping elements.

If you didn't commit to major life changing resolutions this year, don't fret.  Small changes can have big results when multiplied over time.
Read more about that by clicking  HERE!

Here's to a GREAT 2019!

Thursday, January 3, 2019




Celebrating Iowa’s ‘development heroes’ and recognizing smart growth principles across the state

Dec. 11, 2018 (Des Moines, Iowa) – 1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eight recipients of its Best Development Award for 2018. These recipients were chosen because they implement the efficient use of resources to develop sustainable communities and provide a high quality of life.

"These are our state's 'development heroes,'" according to Julia McGuire, Program Coordinator. The 2018 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, recipient, project, city):

In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Storm Lake for building a sustainable community through food, youth service and education, flood control, and stormwater management in Storm Lake
In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, Primary Health Care’s East Side Clinic for its Healing Garden in Des Moines
In the Renewable Energy category, Stuff Etc. for its unique “solar plus storage” technology in Coralville
In the Renovated Civic - Small Community category, the Bricker-Price Block for the restoration of the Bricker-Price Block in Earlham
In the Renovated Civic - Large Community, the Davenport Community School District for its J.B. Young Opportunity Center in Davenport
In the Renovated Residential category, Professional Property Management for Sun Prairie Apartments in West Des Moines
In the Stormwater Management category, the City of Algona for its Downtown Green Parking Lot Infrastructure Renewal in Algona
In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Manning for its Trails Network in Manning

“The nominations for 2018 were very diverse. The jurors really appreciated the number of renovations that were nominated. There are so many great developments occurring in our state,” stated Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa. “Iowa should celebrate the communities where thoughtful planning is happening. Hopefully other communities can replicate the successes of our 2018 category winners.”

The Best Development Award winners are selected from a pool of nominations each year by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors were Pat Boddy, Sustainability Director at RDG Planning & Design; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager with the Community Development Division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager of the City of Sioux City; Ulrike Passe, Associate Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University and Director of the Center for Building Energy Research, and Ryan Peterson, President of Impact7G.

The Best Development Awards Program recognizes projects in up to 12 different categories as a way for 1000 Friends of Iowa to express the fact that smart land use and sustainable communities are more than constructed buildings. All of the award recipients help advance sustainability across our state by considering site design, outdoor and indoor environmental impact, public use, and long-term benefits.

Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve quality of life for future generations.


For more information about the Best Development Awards Program, please contact Julia McGuire at 515-988-1828 or email awards@1000friendsofiowa.org.