Farm fresh food, locally produced wine, fascinating conversation about sustainable agriculture and an award-winning movie documentary will all be featured Sunday, July 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Jasper Winery in Des Moines. The event marks the Iowa premiere of "Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields", and an opportunity to visit with California film-maker Dulanie Ellis.
The event will feature locally grown, farm-fresh food, Iowa wines and a panel discussion following the film. The event is sponsored by Women Food and Ag Network (WFAN) in partnership with the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Edible Iowa River Valley, and many other organizations.
Ground Operations follows an ensemble of young men and women who tell us why they joined the military, how the war changed them, how they've struggled to return home, and ultimately, how they found farming and ranching to be the fulfillment of a dream. Ellis says agriculture is a logical step for combat veterans, because the USDA is calling for one million new farmers and ranchers in the next 10 years.
Film-maker to attend screening event, and panel discussion
Following the screening, Dulanie will be joined by Leigh Adcock of WFAN and Iowa farmer veteran Ashley Wilson to discuss farming, local foods and solutions that include veterans. The panel discussion will offer the audience an opportunity to ask questions.
This movie documentary won the Audience Favorite award at the DocUtah International Film Festival, and Best Solution at the Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival. Ellis had a long career as script supervisor before becoming associate producer on the Academy Award-nominated documentary, "Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks". She launched her own company, Walk Your Talk Productions, in 2000 to address issues about protecting America's food security. Ground Operations is her fifth film about sustainable agriculture.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.groundoperations.net.
Admission is $20, and includes an array of local food and a donation to WFAN and to learn more about WFAN's programming to help women veterans who want to farm.
WFAN organization welcomes new executive director
In other news announced by WFAN recently, Bridget Holcomb of Madison, Wis., has been named the new executive director for Women, Food and Agriculture Network. WFAN is a Midwest-based network of women engaged in all aspects of healthy food and farming, with more than 5,000 members nationwide.
"WFAN is very fortunate to welcome Bridget as the next executive director," says current executive director Leigh Adcock. "Bridget has the skill set and personal qualities we were looking for to take WFAN to the next level as an organization."
Adcock adds, "Bridget has a background in sustainable agriculture advocacy, focusing on conservation, local food markets, and farmland preservation. She previously worked with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Wisconsin, and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Before coming to WFAN, she earned a master's degree in public affairs with an emphasis in non-profit management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bridget is an avid gardener, biker, and hula-hooper.
Holcomb will strive to continue WFAN leaders' legacy
"I feel so fortunate to work for WFAN, and I recognize that I have big shoes to fill," says Bridget Holcomb. "Denise O'Brien and Leigh Adcock have led WFAN to what it is today, and I want to honor what they have accomplished by growing the network and the programming they have worked so hard to build."
Bridget will continue to live in Madison, but will travel frequently to Iowa and nearby states to meet with WFAN's staff and board members, and the program partners who have helped build WFAN's foundation as a regional and — increasingly — a national voice for women in sustainable agriculture.
"WFAN's search committee, led by Steph Larsen, worked very hard over an eight-month period on the recruitment, interview and hiring process," says WFAN board chair Dana Foster. "We are confident that we have found the very best candidate for the position in Bridget. We look forward to continuing WFAN's growth with her as director."
WFAN marks 17 years of advocacy, now has 5,000 members
WFAN was founded in 1997 by Iowa organic farmer Denise O'Brien and a small group of other visionary women, who recognized the absence of women's voices in agricultural policy. Denise was also the first coordinator, from 1997 to 2008. At that time, Leigh Adcock took on the position of executive director, helping to grow the organization from 300 members to more than 5,000 nationwide.
"Women are central to agriculture, whether they are farmers, landowners, educators, or eaters," says Bridget Holcomb. "We know the power that women hold, and we empower women to change the food system."
In 2013, WFAN hosted the 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture, drawing 400 participants from all over the world to Des Moines for three days of workshops, field tours and locally sourced meals. Bridget Holcomb and Leigh Adcock will share the executive director role during July and August, and Leigh will continue to help with grant projects and the 2014 annual conference into the fall to facilitate a smooth transition."