Newsletter for April

Farm Update
The farm is warmer, and I think we had our last really cold night last night, and we should be able to start planting things like peas and radishes outside without worrying about a really killing frost. Also, in our grassland, we've started to see the first shoots of cool-season grass coming up, which, as soon as it gets a little bigger, we'll burn in order to weaken those grasses, to give more space for the prairie species that hopefully have survived from when we planted them last year. We've also started planting some more fruit trees, have started some seedlings of individual prairie plants and flowers for pollinators along with some vegetable seedlings, and are working on cover crop plans and orders.

We have two more potlucks this winter, and then we'll be moving to the farm for our potlucks. We'll probably have a tentative schedule for the summer.

April 5 Oscar Romero: at 2923 Woodland St, Unit 1, Ames, IA, 50014
We'll watch some film clips from a movie and have a discussion about Oscar Romero, a bishop and human rights activist in El Salvador:

May 3 Property: at 704 Duff Ave, Ames, IA 50010
As we're buying a farm, it seemed a good time to have a discussion about the nature of property and things associated with it, like theft, resources, work, money, economies, and the government!

We've got a lot of work to do to get ready for the spring, so if you want to come help us, that'd be great! Here's some of our upcoming workdays.

Saturday, April 6th, from 1 to 4 PM
We'll be pruning our raspberries, removing cages from our trees, and planting some cool-season vegetables, and starting some warm-season seeds.

Saturday, April 13th, all day
9am-noon, a break for lunch, the 1pm-4pm, followed by a farm meeting.
We'll be planting cool-season crops: potatoes, onions, brassicas, peas, spinach
and many trees! Please come - we really need some help this day!

Saturday, May 18th, 9-noon, lunch break, then 1 to 5 PM
We'll be planting out tomatoes and most of the rest of our warm-season vegetables

Workdays posted

Though its quite snowy, we're starting work on the farm. If you want to come help, we've posted some workdays on our farm calender:

Fundraising update: we're having a fundraiser:

We'll be having another fundraiser, this one sponsored by Worldly Goods, a cool store selling various crafts from around the world at 223 Main Street, in Ames Iowa :
It will be March 14, 5-9 PM. Come buy some cool stuff, and a portion of the purchase price will go to us! Also I think there will be treats made by our farm team there.

Feb 27, 2013 Newsletter

Farm (team) Update
The farm is currently covered in snow, but we are starting to get warmer, and we're getting thing ready for our coming year. We've bought a lot of seeds, some tools, some new bees to replace the hives that died last summer, and hopefully we'll be buying some land soon, expanding our farm to 11 acres. Other than buying things, we've also been getting ready to get chickens, attending various conferences, and making farm plans for our expanded size. As I think we've told you before, we're planning on growing about a third of the vegetables we have in recent years, shutting down our CSA and most of our vegetable exports for a year in order to focus on designing our expanded farm and better connecting with our community. We'll still have plants on all of the land, as it helps the soil stay more alive and in one place. Rather than vegetables though, we'll be planting red clover in a few weeks in a good portion of our land area, and filling most of the rest of our farm with other cover crops to add nitrogen, carbon, and habitat to the soil, and also provide habitat and food to above ground life, such as chickens and pollinators. By focusing less on vegetables this yearhis, we will be better to organize our farm for the coming years, and hopefully give ourselves more time to form new and different connections with the community. This will likely take many forms, including the organization of food education classes, connecting with the people and organizations that get our food, and the continuation of our potlucks and roundtable discussions, which will start being every week around mid-May. We still have a few more once a month winter potlucks, see below.

As mentioned above, we're buying our farm, which is great, but we are still doing fundraising to pay off loans which we got to buy this farm. Our last fundraiser was super successful, I think at least eighty people came, there was maybe 20 gallons of soup ( a bit too much for one night, but that's okay), and there was an active swap and a successful craft sale. Also, people gave our farm lots of money, I believe about 3500 total, which was nice. We'll be having another fundraiser, this one sponsored by Worldly Goods, a cool store at 223 Main Street, in Ames Iowa: . It will be March 14, 5-9 PM. Come buy some cool stuff, and a portion of the purchase price will go to us! Also I think there will be treats made by our farm team there.

We have three more winter potlucks, The location for each of them will be 704 Duff Ave, Ames, IA, 50010, and they will all be the first Friday of each month, with dinner at 6 and a discussion at seven. topics below, feel free to bring a friend!

March 1 Reading!: Agrarian politics
As a test of a potential format for some of our summer potlucks, we'll be reading a passage from books we think are cool, and then discussing them. Tomorrow, we'll either be reading from the Platform of the People's Party, an early 1900s agrarian party in the US, or "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman. Probably the first one.

April 5 Oscar Romero
We'll watch some film clips from a movie and have a discussion about Oscar Romero, a bishop and human rights activist in El Salvador:

May 3 Property:
As we're buying a farm, it seemed a good time to have a discussion about the nature of property and things associated with it, like theft, resources, work, money, economies, and the government!

after this, probably in late May, we'll start our summer potlucks out at the farm. Stay tuned for our summer schedule!

Fundraising Update: We're having a fundraiser!

dear friends,

as you probably know, we are working on buying the farm. so far, things are going well, if not always effortlessly. We've raised about $14,000 and been offered a few small loans, and we are extremely grateful! We're still hoping for more, so...

We're planning a really fun fundraising event for Sunday Feb. 3.
4pm Craft sale and
clothing and goods swap.
5pm Dinner (soup and more)

location is the Wesley hall, in the basement of the Collegiate United Methodist Church at 2622 Lincoln Way, Ames. enter at east door.
Suggested donation of $5 or more, or less.

Like all our events, everyone is welcome and everyone can participate. We are trying to build economic alternatives based on generosity, not competition. We love having swaps - everyone brings clothing and stuff that they don't need anymore, but that someone else might love. Then you can take what you like. Usually we don't even talk about or think about money at our events, but this time we are hoping that people will be inspired by the delicious food, swap treasures and wonderful crafts and part with some funds to help us buy this farm.

Let us know if you would like to help out with this event in any way. If you have many things saved up for the swap, you are invited to come at 3;30 to help us organize and set up. We are also looking for folks to help make soup, other delights, and to help set up and clean up. If you have questions or would like to help, please call alice 515-460-1467, or email nicholas

alice says: i thought the blog needed some pictures, but since we dont' have a camera yet, i added this one from the 2009 craft retreat. however, i did make a big batch of candles this week, and i am going to a craft retreat tomorrow to make some rag rugs. hopefully they will be as beautiful as the candles, and you will be able to see and purchase them at the craft sale on feb 3.
thanks everyone!!!

Fundraising Update: Money raised for matching challenge

As you might know, we are fundraising to buy our farm. Many of have been quite generous, and also quite prompt, and have successfully donated over the $4000 needed to meet the matching amount offered for money donated before 2013. Thanks A lot! We're still looking to raise more money, but what we have gotten will be quite helpful.

buying the farm! 2012 Matching challenge - last week!

Dear friends,
(sorry no cool pictures, the camera is broken)
In this email/blog:

- Potluck schedule for the rest of the winter (including Jan 4)
- Buying the farm info
- plea for help with funding our land purchase.
- a short Christmas wishlist of things you might be getting rid of anyway

winter potlucks

Potluck Update:

(actually written by nicholas, though posted by alice)

Sorry about the double email, I've (Nicholas) been bad at communicating with my farm team members, as it is Christmas time. Anyway, Happy third day of solstice (if you live in the northern hemisphere, that means the days are now very slowly getting longer, and soon we'll plant some onions (but not as many as last year). So here are the next three potlucks (they may change slightly, as I can't quite remember one of the titles):

Latest Mustard Seed Community Farm Newsletter from Alice

there's been so much going on since the last newsletter!
2 things in this newsletter:
We are (almost certainly) buying the farm!
potluck this friday 12-7-12

We have been renting 3 acres this year, up from our 1 acre our first year, and now we are trying to buy 11 acres.
to avoid confusion, this is 11 acres right where we are, which includes everything you thought of as mustard seed farm and 8 acres more. We are very excited about this, and very grateful! There's a lot to say about this, and we'll try to send you a more informative, more interesting email very soon. also, if you would like to read an illustrated version of all this info, we can send you this fall's issue of the paper (through the postal service) or a more boring business plan. Our landlords have agreed to sell the land, we are looking for help with financing.
If you are interested in helping - we are looking for interest free loans, donations, or early sign ups for a 2014 CSA share - please give me a call if you have any interest in these things. 515-460-1467. i'd also be happy to answer any questions.

more info coming soon.

Next Potluck: Social Justice and Education
The next potluck will be Friday, December 7th, with a 6 PM dinner and a 7 to 8 PM discussion.
The location will be 704 Duff Ave, Ames, IA, 50010.
As always, the public is open to the public, so feel free to invite anyone.
This Friday's potluck will be guided by Chris Fowler, of the Margaret Sloss Women's house, and we'll talk about the impact education has on reinforcing or perpetuating inequality, and other issues surrounding social justice and education.

peace, and gratitude

Early November newsletter, event this Monday

Farm update
So not much has changed since the information in the last newsletter. We've taken down our fence, and there's been lots of animal activity: turkeys, a cat, and deer. The activity from the deer has convinced us to protect a few more of our trees, as they're getting eaten pretty badly. We're also cleaning up everything for the final year, and starting plans for next year. Next year will be largely non-food crops, focusing on ecological health, soil quality, buffers, and forages. We're starting to do research on what those plants should be. One other thing different this fall, compared to other falls, is that we've left a lot of our dead crops standing that we would normally take down: beans, tomatoes, okra. We've done this rather than removing them and planting cover crop because they will hopefully serve as a snow fence to catch moisture for the soil. Also, because of dry conditions, the cover crop germination hasn't been great, so the dead plants will provide some kind of soil cover.

Hunger and Homelessness Event with farm team members: monday from 6-8:30
Next Monday, as part of the national hunger and homelessness week, there will be a public forum organized by the story county housing board where various people involved in mitigating hunger and homelessness in Story County will talk about their work and ideas. The last few years, cookies have been provided. From our farm, Alice will be talking about our farm, what we do, and what other farms in the area do to try to get healthy food to hungry people. You should come if you want, it's Commons Hall, Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1517 Northwestern Ave. The event is being organized by the Story County Housing Board and sponsored by the City of Ames Housing Division. Here's more info:

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