Down to Earth - by Madison Co. Master Gardeners

Master Gardener

Books for Kids This Christmas

Connecting the children in your life to nature can be helped along with some recommended books about natural themes.  The books recommended here range from pre-readers through middle readers.  Looking online at American Library Association lists of notable books will yield high quality titles for your consideration.  Checking with local librarians can also provide options.  So, if you’d like to sow the seed of appreciating nature this Christmas, one way to do so is to give a good book to the children you love.  Following are a few suggestions.

  • A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet – McGehee, Claudia
  • Mother Earth and Her ChildrenA Quilted Fairy Tale – Von Olfers, Sibylle
  • Summer BirdsThe Butterflies of Maria Merian – Engle, Margarita
  • Flight of the Honey Bee – Huber, Raymond
  • Parrots over Puerto Rico – Roth, Susan L.

Middle Readers:

  • Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table – Martin, Jacquelin Briggs
  • The Great American Dust Bowl –Brown, Don
  • The Tree of Life – Sis, Peter
  • Look UpBird-Watching in Your Own Backyard – Cate, Annette LeBlanc

Books are far more powerful when combined with some personal time outside; growing indoor or outdoor gardens; attending educational events; or feeding, watching, and naming birds.  The possibilities are nearly endless.  Yet it remains true that for most people who have a strong tie to nature, they can tell you what person in their life nurtured that tie.  You can be that person for someone you love.

ISU Extension Workshop “MarketReady” January 6th in Winterset

 Iowa farmers are by nature innovative opportunists.  As the demand for locally grown food increases, producers of vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and dairy have responded.  On January 6th, ISU Extension will offer “MarketReady” training to help farm vendors address the challenges of today’s evolving markets.
·         Farmers markets have become commonplace in Iowa. Each growing season, producers sell directly to consumers at small markets scattered across the state.  
·         Some growers choose to sell shares in their farm enterprise, thereby sharing their produce and the risk of production with subscribers.  This practice is referred to as a CSA or “community supported agriculture”.
·         As these channels of distribution of local food evolve and farm enterprises grow, many producers begin looking for larger markets.  Restaurants, schools, food service buyers and even grocery stores have increased the demand for fresh, locally grown food.
·         But, these institutional buyers have special needs and requirements.  Growers must scale up their production and their management practices to market effectively to these wholesale buyers.
·         Farmers interested in expanding their distribution to local markets will benefit from a one-day training to be held January 6th at the ISU Extension and Outreach office in Winterset.  This workshop, “MarketReady”, will address the issues food suppliers need to address in order to succeed in today’s markets.
·         The workshop will be valuable for farm vendors selling vegetables, dairy, fruits, eggs or meats.
·         “MarketReady” will be delivered live by a panel of Iowa State University experts trained in Value Added Agriculture.  Topics covered will include communications and relationship building, packaging, labels, delivery, post-harvest handling, grading, insurance, regulatory requirements, marketing and food safety.
·         “MarketReady” begins at 7:30 AM and ends at 5:30 PM.  A portion of the afternoon will feature a local restaurant owner and a local grocer.  During a question and answer session, they will share their experiences and challenges with accessing locally grown food. 
·         The registration fee for “MarketReady” is $55 per person, or $90 per couple or two employees attending from the same farm.  The fee includes training materials, a light lunch and refreshments.
·         Pre-registration is required for this training.  For more information or to register, call or email Linda Naeve at 515-294-8946 or  Please be prepared to give the name of the registrant, address, phone number, and email address.  Registrants will also be asked to indicate if they are a produce or livestock/poultry/egg producer.
Sponsors of the program include the Madison County ISU Extension and Outreach Office, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program, and Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development.

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