Blog & Latest News

Blog & Latest News2017-01-19T21:01:10-06:00
2902, 2024

March 2024 Change for Community Recipient: Women, Food, and Ag Network

February 29th, 2024|Categories: Blog, Co-op Nickel|Tags: , , |0 Comments

We are a community of women in sustainable agriculture.

WFAN exists so that women can give each other the information, connections, and encouragement they need to be effective practitioners and supporters of sustainable agriculture and healthy localized food systems.

Our Mission

To engage women and non-binary people in building an ecological and just food and agricultural system through individual and community power.

Our Vision

is a vibrant, community-centered food and agricultural system in which women are strong leaders.

Our Herstory

The idea of WFAN was born in 1994, when Iowa organic farmer Denise O’Brien and New York state food justice advocate Kathy Lawrence organized a women in agriculture working group for the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing. They were passionate about addressing the absence of women’s voices in agricultural policy in the US and abroad. They wanted to empower women as champions of healthy food and farming systems, food justice, and food sovereignty within their own communities.

Learn more on their website!

2702, 2024

February 2024 Board Meeting Highlights

February 27th, 2024|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Here are highlights from the February 2024 Wheatsfield Board of Directors meeting:

  • In accordance with board policy, the Board appointed Sarah Huffman to fill the remainder of a vacant board seat. Sarah has previously served on the Board’s Education and Outreach Committee, and was a candidate for the Board election in 2023. Welcome, Sarah!
  • The Board and management held new director orientation for Ann Carey (student rep), Sarah Huffman (formally appointed to the board during Feb. meeting), and Chris Colvin (joining the Finance Committee).
  • The Finance Committee held their quarterly meeting on Feb. 14. January sales were 6.06% higher than January 2023 sales. Overall, year-to-date sales are 0.87% over budgeted sales and 3.86% ahead of last year’s sales; cash and the store’s financial position are strong.
  • The Board discussed ideas for the upcoming year of work, focusing on documenting board institutional knowledge, improving Board policy structures, and celebrating the 50th Anniversary.
  • The Board approved Sarah Huffman as the chair of the Education and Outreach Committee.
2302, 2024

Produce Parable – Thank You, Lonna

February 23rd, 2024|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Thank You, Lonna

February 2024 Produce Parable
Adam Calder, Produce Manager

It has been an incredible fifteen years, and now it is time to say good-bye to Onion Creek Farm seedlings grown with love and care by Lonna Nachtigal. This comes as terrible news to the legions of fans of her seedlings, and to everyone here at Wheatsfield Cooperative.

In January, Lonna sent an email where she said:

“I have been looking ahead to spring and want to let you know that I am NOT planning to grow seedlings for sale at Wheatsfield this year.

Health issues and other reasons are making me reevaluate my priorities. I’m cutting back on some things in order to concentrate on others.

Although I’ll still be gardening here at home, I won’t be growing seedlings on (what is for me) a big scale. I’ve enjoyed growing plants for you all these past years.”

As saddened as I was to read that email, I was also delighted to hear that Lonna will be able to re-prioritize her commitments so she can enjoy her life as it shifts into a new stage. Such is the nature of life. I’ve lost track over the years of the number of different local farmers that have come and gone. Each time a local farmer says they are moving on to a new chapter, it is a bittersweet moment. We hate to say goodbye, and are also excited for our local farmers to pursue their interests and goals.

I would say Lonna’s presence in the produce department has been like a solid, dependable rock all these years, but that is not an accurate description. Knowing Lonna would be there, spring after spring, with her armada of seedlings, was more like reconnecting with a trusted, loyal old friend. Even though we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for months, we picked up right where we left off as if no time had gone by at all.

Every time Lonna delivered her seedlings, it felt like an invasion of little green soldiers just waiting to march off to gardens all over town (we have sold over 16,500 of her seedlings in the past 15 years!) Each tiny pot held a verdant little bundle of potential. It is really something special watching people’s eyes light up as they explore the latest seedling varieties, plucking the perfect ones to plant. My favorite part of my spring-time routine each morning in the produce department is watering Lonna’s seedlings, watching the rays of light from the sun, as it rises, filter through the drops of water, as they fall.

I’ve had dozens of people come up to me over the years to tell me how much they cherish their Lonna seedlings, how they look forward to them each year, and how no other seedlings can compare to the high quality of hers. I will do my best to find a new local seedling grower to step in and provide us with seedlings, and I understand that nothing I find will quite replace everything that made Lonna’s seedlings so special.

Thank you, Lonna, for your years of toil, dedication and care. Your hard work set a very high bar for any future seedling vendor at Wheatsfield, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of the joy and wisdom you have shared with me and our cooperative community.

1502, 2024

Starting Solids: Purees and Baby-Led Weaning

February 15th, 2024|Categories: Blog, Classes|0 Comments

Starting Solids: Purees and Baby-Led Weaning

Preparing your baby to start solid foods, or in the midst of it and struggling with baby eating enough or eating the right things? Not sure if you want to try traditional weaning or baby-led weaning? Register for this intro to starting solids class with a registered dietitian to learn about your baby’s nutrition needs, and evidence-based techniques to help your child build a positive relationship with food!

Instructor

Kimberly Baishnab (Korff) is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified lactation specialist, specializing in infant and child feeding (starting solids, picky eating, and everything in between!), cultural foods and culinary nutrition. Kimberly provides nutrition counseling and local workshops to promote a positive relationship with food for everyone in your family. Join Kimberly in the kitchen and the classroom to learn more about your child’s health and raising adventurous, well-nourished eaters!

Date and Time
Thursday, April 18, 5:30-7pm

Special
Nutrition Education
Baby Feeding

1402, 2024

How to Grow Food in Iowa

February 14th, 2024|Categories: Blog, Classes|0 Comments

How to Grow Food in Iowa

Wednesday, March 27 5:30-7pm

Alice McGary | Mustard Seed Community Farm

Free Class

Join vegetable farmer Alice for this beginner’s class, which will touch on what, when and how to plant a home food garden with tips on how to manage weeds and pests organically. Learn the basics of soil, how to read a seed packet, look at Extension publications to figure out when to plant and when to harvest, as well as how to prepare your garden plot. There will also be time to ask your personal questions, and you will get to take home some spring seedlings to plant.

Instructor
Alice McGary, Mustard Seed Community Farm

Date and Time
Wednesday, March 27, 5:30-7pm

Special
Educational
Seed starting activity

1002, 2024

Kids Hands-On Class: Lumpia! Filipino Egg Rolls

February 10th, 2024|Categories: Blog, Classes|0 Comments

Kids Culinary Class: Lumpia! Filipino Egg Rolls

Get your kiddo in the kitchen with this very unique introduction to the Filipino snack, lumpia, which is similar to an eggroll! Learning to cook is an important skill for any child to develop and an important part of developing a good relationship with food – and making fun cultural foods is a great place to start! We will make 2 versions of lumpia, a savory one with vegetables and a sweet one with fruit!

Vegetarian Class (can be made vegan), designed for ages 7-12, one parent or guardian must accompany child.

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If your child has a food allergy, please check with us before registering for the class. Limited adjustments to recipes can be made during class.

Instructor

Kimberly Baishnab (Korff) is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified lactation specialist, specializing in infant and child feeding (starting solids, picky eating, and everything in between!), cultural foods and culinary nutrition. Kimberly provides nutrition counseling and local workshops to promote a positive relationship with food for everyone in your family. Join Kimberly in the kitchen and the classroom to learn more about your child’s health and raising adventurous, well-nourished eaters! Learn more on Kim’s Website.

Date and Time
Sunday, Mar 24, 1-2:30pm

Special
Kids Hands-On
Vegetarian, Vegan

1002, 2024

Hands On Class: DIY Herbal Lotion Bars

February 10th, 2024|Categories: Blog, Classes|0 Comments

Hands-On: DIY Herbal Lotion Bars

Natural and nourishing plant-based oils, butters, waxes, and essential oils take center stage in this interactive, hands-on workshop. You will explore the art and science behind lotion bars, creating two deeply moisturizing herbal lotion bars of your own, made 100% from scratch.

Instructor

Ann Staudt is the founder, chief soap formulator, kitchen chemist, graphic designer, sales manager, packaging extraordinaire, and overall operations manager behind Siberian Soap Co. She holds degrees in both chemical and environmental engineering. Soapmaking provides a wonderfully creative outlet that combines her interests in science, art, and living a simple, eco-friendly lifestyle.

Date and Time
Saturday, Mar 16, 2:30-4pm

Special
Hands-on DIY
Educational

902, 2024

HRC Meet & Greet at the Co-op

February 9th, 2024|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Human Relations Commission, DEI Coordinator
to Hold ‘Meet & Greet’ at Wheatsfield Co-op

AMES, Iowa – The Ames Human Relations Commission (AHRC), along with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator (DEI) Casandra Eames, have partnered with a local Ames business to host a “Meet and Greet” informational gathering on Sunday, Feb. 25. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at Wheatsfield Cooperative, 413 Northwestern Ave.

This gathering is part of an ongoing effort by AHRC to connect with the community and collect input on important issues impacting Ames. In addition to conversation, the group will offer other ways to gather feedback, like writing thoughts on post-it notes. There will be giveaway items for younger participants.

“Events like these are essential for us to connect to and hear from the community in a setting that enables free and open dialogue on important issues,” Eames said. “We are incredibly thankful to Wheatsfield Cooperative for hosting us.”

A focus of this gathering will be promoting the upcoming “Home for Everyone” award, the recipient of which will be recognized in April, which is Fair Housing Month. “Housing is a fundamental human need, and this award acknowledges those who go above and beyond to promote housing equality for our neighbors,” Eames said.

The purpose of AHRC is to study discrimination in the community and work to minimize or eliminate it; promote goodwill among the various racial, religious, and ethnic groups in Ames; and cooperate with other organizations to develop programs designed to eliminate racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions. The DEI Coordinator position was developed to guide City of Ames processes, policies, and programs to ensure many perspectives are being considered.

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Photo caption: Ames Human Relation Commission (AHRC) members meet with Ames residents last fall a “Meet & Greet.”

602, 2024

January 2024 Board Meeting Highlights

February 6th, 2024|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Here are highlights from the January 2024 Wheatsfield Board of Directors meeting:

  • The board revised the policy on early payout requests of member loans and preferred shares. This was done with guidance from the co-op’s attorney, and to better align with the terms of the offerings  and Wheatsfield’s Articles and Bylaws.
  • Sales are strong. Rolling YTD sales for July-December are 3.52% over last year.
  • Dividends for preferred shares were paid during December, by store gift card or check, based on shareholder preference. Some shareholders also chose to donate their dividend back to the co-op.
  • The board voted to pause exploration of purchasing the Wheatsfield property. Discussion centered on analyzing our knowledge gained while researching purchase options over the last few months, uncertainty about the current volatility in the commercial real estate market, and most importantly, selecting a path that will ensure the financial sustainability of the Co-op.
  • The co-op is celebrating 50 years in 2024! The Board will be helping out in the store during the kick-off festivities this Saturday, 1/27. Hope to see many of you there!

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