Building a Network of Farmers and Stewards of the Land

Clare Algozin

Practical Farmers of Iowa is an organization built from a diverse network of farmers. Its members are both conventional and organic farmers who come together to share knowledge and education to promote more sustainable operations.

Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Sally Worley, Operations Director for Practical Farmers.

Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?

Sally Worley (SW): Practical Farmers strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information sharing.

FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?

SW: In 2014 Practical Farmers provided over 200 opportunities for farmers to educate each other and the public. Over 800 participants attended our annual conference, 5,800 attended our field days and 3,800 viewed our “farminars” (online webinars) in 2014. Ninety-one percent of our members state that Practical Farmers has helped them achieve their goals.

FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?

SW: Our goals for the next three years include: building a community in Iowa and beyond, making farmers stewards of our natural resources, and creating farmers, farms and food systems that are viable.

FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?

SW: Be knowledgeable about where their food comes from, be aware of how food purchasing choices they make impact the food system, and be an outspoken advocate for food systems that are sustainable.

FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?

SW: Become a member! Membership provides access to an incredible community of innovative farmers, enlightened consumers and forward-thinking agricultural and environmental professionals. Even if you are not a member, you may learn more at our website or one of our many events. Events are open to the public regardless of membership status: Last year 60 percent of field day attendees were non-members.