Mustard Seed Community Farm Fall Newsletter 1

Mustard Seed Community Farm Fall Newsletter
from Alice McGary

Short summary of email contents:
1. We had a good season
2. next years goals
3 join our farm team
4. upcoming dates

It’s really fall now. Not only have we had a few frosts, but we have passed the equinox and the days are now shorter than the nights. This morning, our Tuesday harvest crew worked their last shift of the season (and I was pleased to hear them asking about spring!) and Friday will be our last full delivery. Our season is ending a little early, but overall, it has been very good.

We are already thinking about next year, dreaming and scheming about what we’d like to improve, change, or keep the same. We’d really love some ideas and feedback from our greater community, and we would especially love some new team members and volunteers to help us expand our vision and our work.

Some goals for next year:
Strengthen our connections with the people that eat our food. We partner with groups like Food at First and different food pantries and shelters that distribute our food to those who need it. These are great organizations with a lot of volunteers (just like us) who serve a lot of people, and sometimes it can get confusing. We’re looking for some consistant relationships with these groups, and also with people who want to eat our food.

Continue educating ourselves and others about issues of Environmental Stewardship, Social Justice, Agriculture, Spirituality, and more (perhaps healthy food preparation from fresh vegetables?).

And of course – it’s a goal to have a strong farm team!

Do you have any creative ideas to help us achieve these goals, or do you have other goals in mind for us? We really do need some more farm team members, and if you have any interest in possibly joining us, I’d like to encourage you to call me and/or come to our next planning meeting: this Friday afternoon at 3:30 PM at the farm (366 W Ave).

This Friday’s probable meeting agenda:
Planning the winter pot-lucks
Finding new farm team members?
Harvest and garden report from the whole season

Other dates of interest:
Friday October 14 – garlic planting 9am-4pm
friday night, first "winter" pot-luck
Saturday Oct 15 – possible continued work day if we don’t get it done Friday (9am-3)

Winter pot-lucks are the second Friday of the month 6pm dinner, 7pm discussion. These will be in the town of ames – check the website for locations and topics which will be posted soon. (if you would like to host or lead one of these, please let me know)

Thanks for the great season!


Summer ends tomorrow, and our farm is doing a pretty good job of showing it. Last week we had a frost. ALice and Nate did an awesome job of covering a lot of things with plastic and garden blankets, and so we will likely still have tomatoes and other crops for a week or two, but the cold weather is making everything grow a lot slower. At right are pictures from food I made earlier in the season-sliced tomatoes, gumbo made from those tomatoes, okra, and sausage, and beet dip (roasted beets, tahini, yogurt, garlic, and salt) on slices of cucumber. They were all delicious, but now like I said, the tomatoes are growing real slow and might die soon, I haven't checked the okra but I imagine it's probably dead, we harvested the last of our beet crop probably a month ago, and the last of our cucumbers succumbed to disease just a few weeks ago. The growing season isn't over: we still have lots of sweet potatoes to harvest, kale and brussel sprouts will continue for a while, we might get some fall radishes and bok choi, and our winter cover crops are coming up nicely. But these are all fall things, and the summer crops-tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans-are definitely dieing down.

This Friday's Potluck: Green Fire

This Friday, September 2nd, we'll be having our last Friday potluck of the summer. This last one will be special, we'll have the potluck at 7PM. Then, around 8, we'll be showing Green Fire, a movie about Aldo Leopold, who some people think is pretty cool. Much like Green Lantern, it describes his journey from someone that receives a a gift of green fire, and used that green power to change the shape of the world (I think, I actually haven't seen either movie). The movie will be projected on the outside of a barn, so bring some theater snacks!


a CSA box.

Farm news: This Saturday, we had a goodbye dinner for Chantal and Luciano, who are both leaving this Friday (totally coincidentally) to go to their new homes on the two far coasts. Chantal is going of to Massachusetts to go to graduate school and Looch is going to Tacoma to run a kitchen for school children. They have been wonderful team members and we will miss them very much.

here are a few pictures from the evening. it was also nate's birthday.

Mustard Seed Community Farm Newsletter: No Potluck Today, Potluck Schedule for August, Music Festival, and Team Invitation

No potluck this Friday, July 29th

Sorry, but we're a little short-staffed, have had some cancellations of potluck speakers, and this seems the best. Hope to see people next week, when our potlucks will start up again:

Potluck discussion topics for August

Potluck dinner at the farm (366 W Ave, Ames, IA, 50014) at 6, discussion 7-8PM

August 5th: Wangari Maathi, the Greenbelt Movement, and Catholic Social teaching

Discussion will be led by Ann Clifford, she'll talk about Wangari Maathi, her work on deforestation and women's rights in Kenya and around the world, and its influence on and from Catholic social thought.

August 12th: not yet decided

August 19th: Sustainability and Social Justice

This discussion will be led by a group of students attempting to bring more of a focus on social justice into sustainability discussions. They'll share why they think social justice issues need to be a central focus of sustainability issues and agriculture, share examples of specific sustainability and social justice issues, and invite discussion and reflection on the issues of social justice and agricultural sustainability.

August 26th: Why Work?

Alice McGary will lead a discussion about work, talking about various theories concerning work, what it means, and its importance. Come ready to talk about your work, what it means (or doesn't mean) to you!

September 2nd: Movie Night!

We're not sure of the movie yet, but hope to have a cool movie involving agriculture to project on the edge of our barn after what will be our last on-farm potluck for the year.


Sponsored by the Ames slow food people, maybe someone else, and organized by Alice McGary
3PM Porchstompers
4PM Stephanie Plant
5PM Food Gathering, Farm TOUR, Vegetable Chopping
5:30PM Potluck in a shady grove (these last two scheduled events aren't bands, unfortunately)
6:30PM Strong Like Bear

Would you like to join our team?

Below's the text from a poster I made up. If you live or might live in the Boone or Story County area, read below and see if you're interested!

We have a small CSA and grow food for the shelters, soup kitchens, and families in need in Boone and Story Counties. We're looking for new team members with skills and ideas to add to our efforts and who can help us better connect with these communities.

If you're interested in our mission, and any of the skills or projects below, give us a call or email, come to one of our planning meetings, and join our team!


You may already be involved with an organization in Boone or Story County, and could serve as a connection between the work of our farm and your organization.


If you're knowledgeable about a good range of vegetables and how to use them, you could help to make use of vegetables we bring to community meals or offer cooking classes to people who are getting our vegetables but don't know how to use them.


Post our needs on volunteer sites, correspond with individuals in other organizations, publicize our workdays and community discussions.

Carpool and Bike Leader

Help people share rides to our farm and ensure that people without cars can still be part of our farm.


Help our plants, farm equipment, and building projects.

to get on our listserv where we discussion our team stuff, send an email to and you'll be in the loop!

Potatoes and Workers

Not sure if we've mentioned the new people that are staying with us these summer months, but if not, here they are, in reverse chronological order:

Our most recent arrival is Noam, who got here a couple weeks ago, pictured here with potatoes we harvest this past Sunday: we finished digging up the Red Norland and also dug up all of our Yukon and some type of purple potato, in the chair next to Noam-the Red Norland and Yukon are on the ground.

Here is Lupe, a retriever-blue heeler mix, who was gotten as a puppy a couple months ago. Here he is on May 25th, in the foreground, while someone in the background mulches the potatoes that we just harvested so that the tubers wouldn't get exposed to the sun and turn green.

Lupe was adopted by our other two long-term guests, Looch and Emily. I ran out of potato pictures, so here's Looch waiting for a movie to start that we were projecting on the edge of our corn crib. The movie hasn't started so in the background of Luc's computer you can see a picture of Emily.

These workers have all been a great help, even though Lupe hasn't yet learned how to herd cattle. We're looking at how to get more people involved with our farm, both visitors and longer term community members. We'll likely come out with a post on this matter in ore depth shortly, but we're looking for help in farming, and also in connecting with the various communities in Boone and Story Counties.

Community Gardens

Two things about gardens

1. There is now a beautiful website largely made by Rachael Cox which likely shows all the community gardens in and around Ames, including the Mustard Seed Community Farm. In addition to the page I linked to, there's information on where to donate or pick up free food, how to start a community garden, and lots of other cool things.

2. This isn't directly related to our farm, but there will be an open tour of several of the community gardens the Saturday after this coming one: On August 6th, from 9:15 to 1PM. They won't be visiting our farm, but they will be seeing some other cool gardens, so if you're not busy on that Saturday, I think it'd be fun to check it out! See details in the flyer, below the jump!

Sugar Creek

ATTENTION: Midwest Catholic Worker Gathering, SUGAR CREEK 2011

September 16, 17, 18.

Dear all,

Soon it will be that wonderful time to gather together with friends old and new – Sugar Creek. Our small, humble, and sometimes disorganized team here at the Mustard Seed Community Farm CW will do our best to help this event happen, and we are grateful to know that our Catholic Worker friends will help it all come together beautifully.

Here’s the SCHEDULE we have tentatively assembled:

Arrive Friday afternoon and evening.

Spiritual Gifts and Garlic

Everything is growing so well on the farm this year!
Last year we had so much rain, and so many trials and tribulations, and this year, it's been raining an inch a week and everything looks beautiful.

this friday's pot-luck is about spiritual gifts, and our leaders are Tom and Heather Brumm.

our house so far

for those folks, mostly in my family, who want to know what our house looks like inside, here's one picture, from sometime this winter.

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