Field day at One Step at a Time Gardens will highlight on-farm research, pollinators – Aug. 14, near Kanawha

For Release: August 3, 2016


Jan Libbey | One Step at a Time Gardens | (515) 851-1690 | libland@peconet.net | ostgardens.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org

KANAWHA, Iowa — For Jan Libbey and Tim Landgraf, of One Step at a Time Gardens, forging partnerships with others, learning from their farming peers and conducting on-farm research have been integral parts of their 21-year journey pursuing their farm mission and meeting their farm goals.

“The mission of One Step at a Time Gardens is to develop a farming enterprise that sustains family health, finances and spiritual vitality, and also sustains the land and community,” Jan says. “Partnerships are so critical in the success we have had on the farm.”

Jan and Tim invite farmers and the public to learn more about key partnerships that have played a role in their ongoing work to strengthen their farm, as well as their efforts to support pollinators, at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 2-4 p.m., near Kanawha (1465 120th St., about 5 miles east of town). The event – “Partnerships: On-Farm Research and Pollinators” – is free to attend, and will include a sampling of cucumber and tomato salads. Guests are asked to RSVP for the food to (515) 232-5661 or lauren@practicalfarmers.org by Thursday, Aug. 11, and to bring their own chair and tableware. The field day is sponsored by Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Wheatsfield Cooperative.

One important partnership for Jan and Tim has been their long-time participation in on-farm research through Practical Farmers’ Cooperators’ Program. The field day will showcase two projects underway this season: a project looking at raising determinate tomatoes in the farm’s high tunnel; and a cucumber enterprise budget project, which is an effort to help participants learn the true costs associated with raising a cucumber crop.

Jan explains that cucumbers aren’t necessarily more costly to grow than other crops, but says the project needed to focus on one crop in order to delve into the nitty-gritty recordkeeping aspects. “For me, the project is about the discipline of asking detailed questions about your crop, so you know your true costs and start to think that way when you’re looking at your other crops. A lot people don’t determine their pricing based on true costs.”

Attendees will learn about the process of conducting on-farm research and collecting data. Another portion of the field day will highlight a new 4.7-acre Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pollinator habitat planting Jan and Tim intend to plant this fall and winter. During this segment, guests will learn about the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) pollinator program, what’s involved with establishing pollinator habitat and other resources available to support native pollinators. Jason Moore, with Hancock County NRCS, will be on hand to share more details about the NRCS program.

Directions from Belmond: Take U.S. 69 and drive north for 5 miles. Turn left (west) onto County Road B63 at Goodell, and drive 3 miles. At the top of the hill, turn right (north) onto Co Rd R56 and drive 1 mile. Turn left (west) at the first gravel road onto 120th Street, and drive 1.25 miles. East Twin Lake will be to the south.

One Step at a Time Gardens encompasses 130 acres nestled in the rolling, glacial landscape of southern Hancock County. The farm is a mixture of cultivated fields, cropland and diverse CRP acres. The farm’s closest neighbor, East Twin Lake, offers inspiration for restored wetlands and warm-season plantings intricately mixed with farmland. Jan and Tim raise vegetables and pastured poultry on 4 acres for CSA members; 2016 is their 21st season providing CSA shares.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 field day season features 25 events around Iowa. All field days occur rain or shine, and feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours. Details are in Practical Farmers’ “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at practicalfarmers.org, or for free in print.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.