Women Land and Legacy (WLL) chapters were very busy across Iowa in the first quarter of calendar year 2022. More events are taking place due to lower COVID cases, which is good news and tremendous benefit to the women in Iowa with connections and concerns about the land and agriculture. There were seven Learning Sessions from January 1 – March 31 in 5 WLL Chapters which represents 14 counties! There were also two Listening Sessions in the newest WLL county.
Events that took place:
Buena Vista/Pocahontas Chapter (with ISU Extension) – Women Managing Farmland with 26 participants
Cedar/Johnson/Muscatine/Scott Chapter – 3 Lunch & Learns in different counties with 36 participants
Louisa/Des Moines Chapter – Land Transition session with 27 participants
SW Iowa Chapter (Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, Page) – Women Gaining Ground conference with 90 participants
Tama Chapter – Farm Finances and Financial Software session with 19 participants
Winneshiek Chapter – Two Listening Sessions with 61 participants
More WLL events area planned and being planned for April and future months. Watch for those events on the WLL Events Calendar and on Facebook!
It has been quite a few years since Women Land and Legacy (WLL) has seen new chapters form. This is changing in 2022 with two new chapters already by February!
The Winneshiek WLL Chapter will hold two Listening Sessions in March, one at Wildberry Winery in Decorah on March 22 and the second at the Spillville Public Library on March 31. The WLL of Southern Iowa (Adams, Ringgold, Taylor, and Union counties) will hold two Listening Sessions on June 1 at different times to accommodate schedules. They will both take place at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lenox, IA.
Pre-COVID, the Cedar, Johnson, Muscatine and Scott WLL Chapter held monthly Lunch & Learns the first Friday of each month. Of course, those hadn’t been happening until the activity return on December 3, 2021. That day, the WLL Chapter held their first in-person Lunch & Learn in over 18 months at Baxa’s Sutliff Store & Tavern in Johnson County. Women were able to enjoy lunch, networking and learning about the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). On January 7, 2022, the Lunch & Learn took place at Boonies on the Avenue in Muscatine, IA. Women learned about soil fertility and input costs.
The next Lunch & Learn takes place at River Valley Cooperative in Davenport, IA on February 14 (not a Friday). Attendees will gain insights about agriculture and receive updates from USDA-NRCS and FSA. For more information about future Lunch & Learns and other WLL events, go to the Cedar/Muscatine/Johnson/Scott Women Land and Legacy Facebook page.
The Cedar, Johnson, Muscatine and Scott WLL Chapter held an educational and fun event on November 30, 2021 for women that wanted to utilize local spruce tips and boughs to make holiday porch pots! The event took place at the Cedar County Extension office with 17 in attendance.
On November 18, 2021, the Buchanan County WLL Chapter hosted a Learning Session to assist 42 women and men with stress management, especially as it relates to agriculture. Jeff Ditzenberger, Wisconsin farmer and developer of the T.U.G.S. (Talking, Understanding, Growing, Supporting) program for mental health, shared his moving personal story as well as strategies we all can use to make a difference in others’ lives, sometimes at just the right moment.
On November 16, 2021, twenty-eight women and men attended the 40th Learning Session hosted by Tama County WLL since their efforts began in 2007. The event, which included a celebratory cake, provided tremendous information on organic gardening. Dan Fillius with ISU Extension and Outreach provided the garden enthusiasts with tips and strategies, while Roz Lehman, Director of the Iowa Organic Association, shared about the value of her organization.
Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page and Pottawattamie counties make up the SW Iowa WLL Chapter. On October 27, 2021, they held an event attended by 39 women that learned about “Native Wildflowers – Iowa’s Hidden Treasure” from Shirley Miller with ISU Extension and Outreach.
The Tama County Women Land and Legacy will hold a Learning Session on November 16 with dessert and registration at 6:30pm and a program beginning at 7pm. The topic will be “Organic Farming for the Home Gardener” and will feature Dan Fillius with ISU Extension as a presenter. The event will be held at the Kupka Cultural Center in the Traer Public Library located at 531 Second St. in Traer, IA. Registration is required by November 15 by calling 641-484-2701 X3 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The counties involved with the SW Iowa Women Land and Legacy efforts (Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page and E. Pottawattamie) are hosting a Learning Session entitled “Native Wildflowers – Iowa’s Hidden Treasure” on Oct. 27 from 6-8pm. The event will take place at the Lakin Center at 61321 315th St. in Malvern, IA. Shirley Miller with ISU Extension will talk about native plants and assist in determining which plants will do best in a variety of locations. RSVP is required by Oct. 22 by calling your local ISU Extension office. Fremont County (712-374-2351), Mills County (712-624-8616), Montgomery County (712-623-2592) or Page County (712-542-5171.
Tama County WLL hosted its first Learning Session since COVID hit on August 31st and it marked it’s 39th event since its beginning in 2007. The in-person and socially distanced event took place at the Erin and Steve Murty farm east of Gladbrook, IA. The evening event provided wonderful soil health and cover crop information for approximately 20 participants.
Tina Cibula, Resource Conservationist with NRCS, discussed soil health and provided an indepth discussion about cover crops. She then demonstrated several soil health tests to educate the participants about what healthy soil is and how they can improve the health of their soil. Then Erin and Steve Murty led the group to one of their corn fields to demonstrate firsthand what the cover crops look like in late August and discussed which types of cover crops worked best for them. Then, Jack Boyer, a SWCD Commissioner with Tama County Soil and Water Conservation District, showed his custom cover crop planter and discussed how it works.
Lastly, as is part of the WLL process, the participants were broken into groups to answer two questions designed by Tama WLL lead contact, Melody Bro. The questions helped them think about what their next steps will be regarding cover crops and what obstacles they see or perceive. The evening, which was a great success, ended with cookies and ice cream and further discussion.