Grinnell heritage farm is farming against type—and against the odds—in iowa civil eats electricity office


On a quiet day in early March, Andy and Melissa Dunham’s farm, just north of I-80 in east-central Iowa, is a place of unlikely intersections. A steamy greenhouse full of newly planted seed beds is half buried in ice and snow. An old-fashioned red barn looks out over a newly maturing grove of hardy kiwi vines and chestnuts. And in a few months, the couple’s rows of carrots, beets, and kale will electricity usage in the us be surrounded by vast corn and soybean fields that stretch to the horizon.

Grinnell Heritage Farm (GHF) once looked like the fields that surround it, which dominate most of Iowa’s landscape. But today, it’s home to one of the largest community supported agriculture (CSA) farms in the state. The Dunhams grow 40 to 60 types of certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers for their members and 10 to 12 wholesale crops including kale, cabbage, onions, carrots, parsnips, and beets. They pack up to 250 CSA boxes a week in summer, fall, and winter. And a small herd of 15 cows, which they keep mostly to support soil fertility, also provides meat and feeder calves in the fall.

In providing for their devoted customers gas x reviews ratings, the Dunhams employ an impressive array of soil-building, conservation, pollinator, and ecosystem practices—and, set in the middle of Big Ag country, they demonstrate how agriculture can benefit the land and the community. Organic certification gives them a way to talk with customers about their farming practices, but their philosophy extends well beyond the requirements.

Even gas and sand though the Dunhams have spent a lot of time building a resilient, environmentally focused operation, recent weather extremes and changes to the retail environment have put their farm (like many others) in a vulnerable place financially. While Grinnell Heritage Farm escaped the recent devastating floods that drowned fields and towns along both sides of the Missouri River in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, a number of other climate- and industry-related challenges remain.

Grinnell Heritage Farm, in Andy’s family for five generations, started back in 1857. Like most farms in Iowa, it began as a diversified operation, with livestock, forage, fruit trees, vegetables, and grain electricity physics test, and over time it was converted to corn and soy. By the time Andy’s grandparents were ready for someone to take over, their 80 acres of commodity crops had become less and less profitable.

Nevertheless, the Dunhams are continually learning and expanding their efforts to build soil and make the farm ecosystem more resilient. They grow cover crops on 85 percent of their acres, waiting as long as practical to maximize nutrients before plowing them in. They use a no-till drill for planting in some areas and minimal till elsewhere to avoid soil damage. In areas without good drainage, they use raised beds. Over 10 years, they say, their soil organic matter has more than tripled.

They also devote a lot of energy to creating a habitat friendly to pollinators. “ Beetle banks” are among the practices they’ve adopted as part of a collaboration with Bee Better gas leak Certification from Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation. The raised earthen berms, planted with native grasses and flowers, attract pollinators, and also provide habitat for nocturnal ground beetles that feed on potato beetles. Hedgerows provide shelter for bees and buffers against pesticide drift from neighboring cornfields.

CSA memberships and wholesale accounts are their primary source of income. Their gas prices going up 2016 most important wholesale buyer is FarmTable, a food hub based several hours west in Harlan, Iowa. The local food aggregator, which deals in fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, eggs, honey, and other local products, picks up and distributes GHF produce to retail stores and restaurants in Omaha, Lincoln, Des Moines, and other urban markets.

Shoppers at New Pioneer missed the carrots, but Moen says many are aware of the devastating weather and 4 gas planets are already looking forward to this year’s crop. The store found other suppliers to fill the gap, but local produce is a key distinction for the 35-year community-owned store. FarmTable sales were also hurt, according to Walsh-Rosmann; without the beets and carrots from GHF, some customers dropped orders for other local products as well.

In addition to climate-related issues, changes in the grocery industry are another concern, even when the weather cooperates. Long-time customers like New Pioneer and other regional grocers have lost sales to national chains like Aldi, Costco, and Trader Joe’s. The larger chains don’t carry local produce, so the lower sales affect not only the stores g gas lol but also their local suppliers. One major chain, which used to allow individual stores flexibility to buy and set prices with local growers, now caps prices in a central buying office, cutting out most local farms.

The Dunhams are thoughtful and deliberate about the choices they’ve made for their land. Their mission is “to farm our land in a way that will leave it better for the next generation, giving our children, grandchildren, and beyond the opportunity to harvest the bounty we see on the farm today.” To share those values with their community, they’ve started holding regular gatherings, dubbed “HaPIZZAness,” that bring neighbors gas laws worksheet chapter 5 answers and families to the farm for wood-fired pizza, music, and wagon rides, creating connections that are about more than vegetables.

Still, the challenges of climate change and economics weigh heavily. As the arid/humid boundary at the 100th Meridian continues moving east, expanding the drier parts of the country, shifts in weather patterns and planting zones, as well as drought, flooding, and extreme weather events, are all predicted to increase. Crop damage and pest and disease pressures will be especially harsh in certain parts of the Midwest, and windows for planting and harvest in the region will grow shorter, according to reports from USDA, ag business leaders, and climate scientists.

“We were at a farmer meeting on climate change [co-sponsored by Iowa Interfaith Power and Light] last week, and even the big conventional gas vs electric stove safety farmers with 5,000 acres or more say they feel trapped,” Andy said. “A lot of them would try different practices if they could afford it. With the right incentives and policies, they could change in one season.” But the current system doesn’t encourage farms to take risks and invest in practices to be more resilient; instead, Andy thinks, “we are rewarding the wrong players.”

For Walsh-Rosmann, the evidence of a changing climate is already here as the Midwest deals with the recent historic floods. The farms that supply her are all safe, but o gastro she’s been delivering relief supplies to nearby communities, and the destruction is heartbreaking. “Do we weather the storm and hope the local food system is more resilient than the rest of conventional ag?” she wonders.