'Agriculture For Life' Summit Coming Up

'Agriculture For Life' Summit Coming Up

Iowa Environmental Council will hold a conference on sustainable agriculture and food production Nov. 3 at Drake University in Des Moines. Anyone interested in "Agriculture for Life" is welcome to attend.

In Iowa, where almost 90% of the landscape is involved in agriculture, residents have three chances each day to make a positive impact on the state's environment--breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Iowa Environmental Council will explore the connection between what Iowans eat and the environment at its daylong conference, Agriculture for Life: Cultivating Diversity In Iowa Fields and Food Systems on November 3, 2011, at Drake University in Des Moines.

Keynote speaker Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet, will reveal how changing the way people think about environmental challenges may be the key to solving them.

Ricardo Salvador, who served on the Iowa State University agronomy faculty before joining the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2007, will present a history of Iowa agriculture including the successes and unintended consequences of the global food system that exists today.

Panel to share practical solutions for supporting sustainable ag in Iowa

A panel of policy experts will share practical solutions for supporting sustainable agriculture in Iowa. They will explain how people are organizing to build a better food system and feed Iowans with more foods from inside the state.

Finally, five Iowans will share their own "Stories from a New Food System" in a series of short talks. Their stories will trace local food from farm to table and show how farmers, consumers, and those in between are making more sustainable choices about food.

That segment will feature speakers including Emily Krengel, food and nutrition director at Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Iowa, who includes local foods on her menus as a way of supporting local businesses. And Des Moines-area mom Sue Honkamp—who once worked as a brand manager for Kraft Foods labels including Oscar Mayer—will explain why she now works as an advocate for local foods.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit the Iowa Environmental Council's website, www.iaenvironment.org, or call 515-244-1194, extension 210.

Below are brief biographies for Frances Moore Lappé and Ricardo Salvador and additional information about other speakers scheduled to appear. Many speakers are available for media interviews prior to the event; for more information, contact Matt Hauge, annual conference coordinator, at 515-244-1194 x 210.

About Frances Moore Lappé: Note: While in Iowa, Frances Moore Lappé will also appear at the University of Iowa November 1 and Iowa State University November 3.  Check their websites for more information.]

Frances Moore Lappé is the author of 17 books including Diet for a Small Planet, and, most recently, EcoMind:  Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want. She is the cofounder of three organizations including the Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education seeking to bring democracy to life, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé.

Her first book, Diet for a Small Planet, has sold three million copies and is considered "the blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint since long before the term was coined," wrote J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press. In 2008 Diet for a Small Planet was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women's National Book Association in observance of its 75th anniversary and was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats.

About Ricardo Salvador:  Dr. Ricardo J. Salvador is a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. As a member of the Food, Health & Well-Being team he is responsible for conceptualizing, designing and managing the Foundation's programming in food systems.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2007, Ricardo was on the Agronomy faculty at Iowa State University (1988 to 2006), where he taught and conducted research in cropping systems and sustainable agriculture. At Iowa State University, he was the charter chair of the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture, the first to offer PhD, MS and MBA degrees in the field.

Other speakers: The following speakers are also currently scheduled to appear on November 3 at the Agriculture for Life conference in Des Moines:

In the afternoon, a panel will focus on finding policy solutions for a sustainable food system in Iowa. The moderator will be Neil Hamilton, J.D., who is director of the Agricultural Law Center and Dwight Opperman Chair and Professor of Law at Drake University.


The following individuals will appear as panelists:

Penny Brown Huber, M.P.A., is executive director of the Prairie Rivers RC&D in Ames.

Fred Kirschenmann, Ph.D., is a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and serves as president of the board of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York.

F. R. "Fritz" Nordengren, M.P.H., is vice president of the Iowa Food Systems Council. Nordengren operates Two Mile Ranch, which produces pasture-raised poultry, and he is an assistant professor at Des Moines University.

Matt Russell, M.S., is the state food policy project coordinator at Drake University's Agricultural Law Center. He also coordinates the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign.

Sarah Willis is a sustainable agriculture and family farming advocate for Niman Ranch. Her father, Paul, is Niman Ranch's founding hog farmer.

Finally, the Iowa Environmental Council will present "Stories from a New Food System," a series of short talks in which Iowans will describe how they support sustainability in their part of the food system. The moderator will be Angela Tagtow, M.S., R.D., L.D., who operates Environmental Nutrition Solutions, a consulting service that focuses on creating sustainable food systems. Tagtow co-founded the Iowa Food Systems Council, which started operations as an independent nonprofit in 2010. 

The following individuals will appear as presenters:

Phil Danowsky is general manager of Local Harvest Supply, a subsidiary of Coralville, Iowa-based Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution. For two years, Danowsky and his team have been working to bring local foods into their regional distribution business.

Melissa Dunham owns and operates the Grinnell Heritage Farm with her husband, Andrew.  The farm produces over 40 varieties of vegetables each year which the family offers in CSA shares, farmers' markets, and at select grocery stores.

Sue Honkamp is a former brand manager for Kraft Foods who now works as a local foods advocate in addition to raising four kids.

Emily Krengel, R.D., is Food and Nutrition Director at Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Iowa. Since 2005, Krengel has worked to incorporate local and seasonal foods into menus for patients and visitors. The hospital has long been a favorite choice among locals looking for lunch and dinner, and it is returning the favor by purchasing local food from suppliers in the community.

Ron Rosmann manages a USDA certified organic operation including cattle, hogs, and about 700 acres of crops near Harlan, Iowa, with his wife Maria and sons.

About the Iowa Environmental Council: The Iowa Environmental Council actively works in public policy to provide a safe, healthy environment for all Iowans. The Council focuses on public education and coalition building to give Iowans a voice on issues that affect their quality of life and to protect Iowa's natural resources for current and future generations. For more information contact the Iowa Environmental Council visit www.iaenvironment.org
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.