June 2020 Update
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” Hillel the Elder
New This Month
  • What Do Equity and Inclusion Look Like?
  • Measuring our Value(s)
  • SILT Chosen for National Mentoring Program
  • Live Chats - You Never Know What Might Happen
  • A Great Time to Take a Walk - With Joe!
  • Simple Gratitude
What Does "Equity and Inclusion" Look Like?
Land ownership has always the measure and power of the wealthiest people in our country. America was built on land speculation. Before he ever set foot on the continent, George Washington sent surveyors to mark off his ownership of hundreds of thousands of acres. Many of his peers did the same. Once land was measured, it could be bought and sold, much to the befuddlement of Native Americans. (See a great book called Measuring America for more.) Many new Americans of European descent then built more wealth by enslaving Africans to work the land.

At SILT, we strive to take this story in a new direction. We live our ideals of equity and inclusion by providing affordable, long-term access or ownership to those who have not had it or who don't have it now. If you've invested time and passion into becoming a nature-friendly food farmer by attending field days, or volunteering or interning on a farm, and by developing a business plan, (free help available) you have access to an affordable SILT farm somewhere in Iowa.

Farms to purchase or lease are available near Iowa City, Honey Creek, Corydon and Wyman. More coming online this fall in Linn, Johnson and Dallas Counties. Contact us for more information. Need help getting started? Check out Practical Farmers of Iowa or Iowa State University for free or inexpensive resources.

Just like people, each farm has its own unique qualities and offerings. Fill out our Farm Seeker Survey so we know more about your interests and we'll be more prepared to talk to you about a farm that will suit you best.

We are always seeking diverse backgrounds to serve in SILT leadership as well. Please consider applying for board service for 2021 or 2022.
Values - A Letter from Your Executive Director

These days we find ourselves measuring the value of a life. An elderly person. A Latino worker. A Black citizen. A police officer. A nurse. A cashier. Is it "worth it" to wear a mask? "Worth it" to keep your distance? "Worth it" to be outraged or afraid?

What then is the value of land that sustains lives?

Right now, the small group of people who have the ability, must step up. While crisis and pain, unemployment and fear wrack our land, there are a few remaining who can afford to give what so many have given before. If that includes YOU, please help make up for those who are struggling. Can you take 1 person's place as a monthly donor for a while, until they get back on their feet? (If you've already donated this year, THANK YOU SO MUCH !)

Joe, Keri, Genie and I have worked every day through this pandemic. Christina has kept up SILT's news on social media. Our board has guided our work. Land protectors continue to work through the protection process this year. Food farmers are growing for their communities on SILT farms.

Are you the missing piece? Then Join Today please. Show us our work matters to you.

"If not now, when?"


ps I care about you. Write or call me any time to catch up. 319-480-4241 suzan@silt.org. Let's be sure our relationships grow and deepen during these difficult times!

(pictured above: the Boone Family of Driftless Hills Farm)
SILT Chosen for Chipotle Aluminaries 2.0
SILT has been chosen as one of only 8 organizations in the country to join the Chipotle Aluminaries 2.0 Cohort!

Along with the American Farmland Trust, FARM Commons and other groups that empower the next generation of farmers, SILT will receive 7 months of mentoring from seasoned experts to increase our effectiveness and visibility.

"We are very excited to learn from the pros!" said Executive Director Suzan Erem. She credited President Stuart Valentine and Vice President Mary Ellen Miller for helping secure SILT's place. Corporate Partner Specialist Genie Maybanks will participate in the program with Erem.
SILT Live Chats - You Never Know What'll Happen
Did you catch Joe Klingelhutz putting his BARE hand into a swarm of bees? Or Kathy Dice chomping on weeds fresh out of the ground? Or the new SILT book club? You can still catch the recordings here at silt.org!

You can still join our live chats for 30 minutes every SILT Facebook Friday at 11 am. This Friday, Chad Ingels, former Watershed Project Coordinator for Iowa State University and Iowa Environmental Protection Commissioner, and owner of Ingels Agricultural Endeavors in Randalia, IA. Chad will talk and take questions on farmer impact on NE Iowa watershed improvement.

Chef Becky of Becky's Mindful Kitchen will cook up a box of veggies grown by young farmer Corbin Scholz's of Rainbow Roots Farm into a delicious meal - every week for the next 16 weeks! Free online cooking class starts Saturday night! Check SILT's Facebook page for details.
A Great Time to Take A Walk!
Summer's here! Now's a great time to walk your rural property with Farm Specialist Joe Klingelhutz. He'll listen to you, study your soils, observe the terrain, check aspects and slopes. Then he'll write up a report for you about what kind of table foods your land wants to grow and help you find resources to take the next steps. Of course, he'll also let you know how to make your good work permanent. We practice social distancing and Joe will never enter your home during COVID-19.

It's free, (for now), thanks to support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Contact Joe now to schedule your land walk!

joe@silt.org 319.800.8108
Our Gratitude for the SILT Family
Thank you for your wonderful response to our Impact Report! It's been a special surprise to see gifts in the mail from supporters. You keep our spirits up!

Special thanks to Cornelia and Jan Flora for helping SILT run statewide ads this month on Iowa Public Radio so we could applaud Iowa food farmers. Thank you to our board members who've contributed to drawings this summer to help farmers and SILT get through COVID-19. As a thank you to sustaining members! Our first drawing of the year is just for them!

JUNE 15!
Thank you also to our vital partners
Donald C. Brace Foundation