Learn How to Have a Homegrown Lifestyle

AMES, Iowa – A course for people living on a large lot or small acreage who are interested in producing food for their own use in a way that sustains their natural environment will be offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach this spring. “Homegrown Lifestyle  is a course for folks who want to reconnect with the land, grow food for their families and create a sustainable landscape,” said Andy Larson, ISU Extension and Outreach small farms specialist and Homegrown Lifestyle co-coordinator.  

Homegrown Lifestyle, a 12-week spring short course, will be offered at a number of Iowa locations beginning March 20 and ending June 5. Weekly sessions will be held on Thursday evenings from 6–9 p.m. The webinar portion of each session will be taught by extension educators who are state experts in each topic. They will bring the science of getting started to each class. Each session also will include locally organized activities where participants will meet local resource people and learn from one another.  For details on session topics and instructors go to www.homegrownlifestyle.org.

In addition to the weekly Thursday sessions, a local tour or workshop will give course participants the opportunity to experience small-scale food production and resource conservation practices first hand.

“Increasing interest in eating locally has some folks wondering how they could grow more of their own food,” said Larson. “The Homegrown Lifestyle course combines basic information on a wide range of topics with practical application and local workshops for a complete educational experience appropriate to your area.”

Topics covered during the course include edible landscape design; soil and water conservation; growing and preserving vegetables, fruits and wild crops; backyard poultry; beekeeping; grazing and ruminants; composting; and wildlife management. It is not a farm business planning class for commercial growers. Instead, Homegrown Lifestyle focuses on fundamental, scale-appropriate food production techniques and conservation strategies that smallholders and modern homesteaders can quickly put to use.

2014 Homegrown Lifestyle course locations

•    Ames, Extension 4-H Building, Iowa State University campus
•    Fairfield, Jefferson County Extension office, 2606 W. Burlington Ave.
•    Indianola, Farm Bureau Building, 200 W. 2nd Ave.
•    Muscatine, Muscatine County Extension office, 1514 Isett Ave.
•    Sioux City, Woodbury County Extension office, 4301 Sergeant Road, Ste. #213

The course fee is $149 before Feb. 24; late registration fee is $179. The registration fee includes a comprehensive resource guide of carefully-selected publications that support the content of the webinars and workshops. Register online at www.homegrownlifestyle.org. For more information about Homegrown Lifestyle visit www.homegrownlifestyle.org, contact the local coordinator or e-mail homegrown@iastate.edu.