AMES, Iowa -- As grass turns green and spring flowers begin to bloom, some Iowans start to wonder just what else might grow on their little parcel of land. People living on a large lot or a small acreage may have visions of producing food for their own use and practicing natural resource stewardship, but they don’t know how or where to start.
To get interested smallholders and acreage owners off to a good start, Iowa State University Extension is piloting Homegrown Lifestyle, a 12-week course, in three communities this spring. Dallas, Johnson and Woodbury counties have been selected to host the program for those who are eager to reconnect to the land and understand more fully where their food comes from.
Beginning April 7, ISU Extension educators will make weekly presentations via webinar and local extension staff will conduct related hands-on experiences during each session. “This will be a whirlwind tour of all the topics smallholders need to consider when trying to build a sustainable personal farmscape” said Andy Larson, ISU Extension small farm specialist and Homegrown Lifestyle co-leader.
April Homegrown Lifestyle topics are related to stewarding the landscape, including designing the landscape and managing water, soil and energy. Growing food — vegetables, fruits, edible landscapes, and food storage and preservation — are May topics. June agenda items are related to raising livestock, everything from pastures and prairies to sheep, goats, meat birds and eggs to wildlife management and apiary.
“Homegrown Lifestyle will bring campus and local experts together in an educational setting and help us meet the demand for more information about growing, raising and preserving food for personal consumption,” said Craig Hertel, ISU Extension regional director. “The course combines basic information on a wide range of topics with practical application and local farm visits to offer a complete educational experience.”
The course will be held at ISU Design West, 1014 1/2 Design Place, Sioux City; at the Dallas County Extension Office, 28059 Fairground Road, Adel; and at the Johnson County Extension Office, 4265 Oak Crest Hill Road SE, Iowa City.
The program fee is $149. Registration can be made by contact the hosting county offices. In Dallas County, Craig Hertel at 515-993-4281 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Johnson County, Amy Heims at 319-337-2145 or email@example.com; and Woodbury County, Mimi Shanahan at 712-276-2157 or firstname.lastname@example.org.