Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Meet a Co-Hort: LaShell Staley
LaShell Staley owns and operates Valley View Flower Farm in Boone County, Iowa, where she grows primarily old-fashioned and hard-to-ship flowers.

Favorite crop and why: Peonies. There is almost always the same reaction if the person is from the midwest - "Oh my grandmother grew peonies'' or "my mother grew peonies" or "we had peonies when we were on the farm." People laugh, smile and cry when they see them.
One thing you would change about your industry: Encourage people to buy local flowers! There is really no reason to fly in flowers from around the world as we have enough American growers to supply our market. Part of this movement is education - talking about our locally grown flowers and dispelling the perception that local flowers don't last as long. There really could be nothing further from the truth!

Favorite PFI memory: A few years ago during horrid weather and driving up to Ames for the conference. I was thinking no one would be there due to the weather... only to walk into the venue to see many farmers, especially young people who are interested in farming! It was pretty magical.
"Flowers are my life's passion." - LaShell Staley
In a new podcast produced in partnership with PFI, chef Donna Prizgintas and farmer Lonna Nachtigal, both in Ames, Iowa, explore their rural Midwestern food community with lively discussion and good humor.
Recent guests on the DonnaLonna Kitchen Podcast include PFI members Jill Beebout of Chariton, Paul Rasch of Solon, John Wesselius of Sioux Center, and Ben Hoksch of Ames.

Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts! New episodes are released on Thursdays.
Are you looking to get paid, on-the-job training with experienced farmers in Iowa?

The Labor4Learning program is designed for beginning farmers seeking employment and additional training in farm management and production skills.
Practical Farmers of Iowa “trainer” farmers will be hiring during the next couple of months for the upcoming growing season. Browse the list for training opportunities near you!
Martha McFarland has been hired as PFI's new farmland viability coordinator.

In this position, Martha will support land seekers and landowners with land access and farm transition assistance and resources.

Martha also runs Hawkeye Buffalo & Cattle Ranch near Fredericksburg, IA.

Check out the recording of her virtual field day on raising and selling bison.
What is the financial picture for direct-market vegetable farmers? 

This is the fundamental question of a 2021 report by Pasa Sustainable Agriculture (Pasa), entitled Financial Benchmarks for Direct-Market Vegetable Farms.

Former farmer Rick Hartmann responds to the stark findings of a Pasa Sustainable Agriculture report.
Four diversified vegetable farms
planted strips of an annual
flower mix.

Farmers Jill Beebout, Rob Faux, Alice McGary and Sarah Foltz Jordan assessed flower establishment and attractiveness to insects in this 2017 trial.

From spring-seeded and fall-seeded cover crops to interseeded, quick-turnaround covers in the summer and fallow beds for running poultry, Rob has tried almost everything and will show a good mix (and single-species stand!) during this virtual field day.
Iowa Food System Coalition meetings
The Iowa Food System Coalition, a collaboration of groups around Iowa working toward a collective, inclusive vision of our state’s food system, invites you to join the continued development of their vision, mission, values and core priorities through upcoming Coalition meetings. The Coalition is interested in your ideas and insight into the words to use as to represent the food system we all care about.

Compensation is available to support underestimated voices. Please complete this survey if you are requesting compensation to participate in either of these meetings.
All events listed in CDT
Hosted by: Healthy Harvest of North Iowa
9 a.m.-2 p.m. | Mason City, IA

Hosted by: SILT
2-4 p.m. | Wapello, IA
May 11: Virtual Meeting - Iowa Food System Coalition Meeting
Hosted by: Iowa Food System Coalition
8:00 a.m. - noon | Online

Hosted by: the Xerxes Society
Noon – 1 p.m. | Online
Stay tuned for the May release of the 2022 PFI Field Day schedule!
How do you start your transplants?
Soil blocks
Winstrip trays
Plug trays
Combination of a couple of the above
Buying in plugs works best for me
Something else
Previous poll results:

How far would you travel for a PFI field day this summer?
  • Love to see what's happening in other areas (2-3 hr drive) - 50%
  • Interested in what's happening in my part of the state (<1 hr drive) - 37.5%
  • Who has the time? I'm staying home - 12.5%
  • Only going if it's in my backyard (<30 min drive) - 0%
  • Let's roadtrip! (3 hr drive) - 0%
Send us your poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know. Reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Jacqueline Venner Senske
Horticulture Education Coordinator