Field day will explore profitable, small-scale urban farming – June 24, Iowa City

For Release: June 8, 2017


Jon Yagla and Wren Almitra | The Millet Seed Farm | (319) 471-0807 | jonyagla@gmail.com | themilletseed.com

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

IOWA CITY, Iowa — For some people, the concept of farming in a city neighborhood may raise eyebrows, let alone making a living full-time from an urban farm, but Jon Yagla is successfully doing both.

Jon and his partner, Wren Almitra, operate The Millet Seed Farm, growing food for a CSA on a fifth of an acre, spread across multiple yards on their street. The shares – including vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and fermented foods – are mostly sold within the neighborhood, and members pick up goods buffet-style at the farm.

The farm is profitable, Jon says, because he and Wren use “biointensive production methods” and are committed to reducing their living expenses, producing their own food and scaling their lifestyle to match their needs.

“Small-scale food production in an urban environment can be a sustainable model for market farming,” Jon says. “It is possible to grow and market food using no-till practices given the right access to ‘waste’ materials for building organic matter, and an outlet for produce in your neighborhood.”

Jon and Wren will share their experience with operating a small-scale, full-time urban farm at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Saturday, June 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., in Iowa City (911 S. 7th Ave.).

The event – “Earning a Living with Urban Farming: CSA and Lifestyle” – is free to attend, and is sponsored by Iowa Farmers Union. Snacks will be provided following the field day. Please RSVP for the refreshments to Debra Boekholder, (515) 232-5661 or debra@practicalfarmers.org, by Wednesday, June 21.

Jon and Wren will lead guests on a tour of their urban garden plots, and Jon will explain his no-till system, discuss the neighborhood-focused CSA model and share the details of his business planning and financial goals for The Millet Seed Farm. He will also discuss growing crops in permanent beds, and the ideas of urban farming and homesteading.

“My goal for this field day is to show attendees how I make a living on a small urban farm,” Jon says. “I hope guests will leave with some good ideas about incorporating no-till or low-till practices into their farming practices. I also hope they will understand how reducing expenses allows us to keep our farm very small and productive, and improves upon our social and environmental justice goals.”

Directions from I-80: Take Exit 246 for IA Hwy 1 / Dodge Street. Head south on IA Hwy 1 / Dodge Street for 2.5 miles and turn left (east) onto E. Jefferson Street. Continue on Jefferson Street, taking the right fork at the Y-intersection. In 0.6 mile, continue straight onto Glendale Road for 0.1 mile. Turn right (south) onto S 7th Avenue and go 0.8 mile; The Millet Seed Farm is a red-brick bungalow on the right side.

Note: Please reserve parking on S 7th Avenue for those who need it. Plan to arrive early enough to park on an adjacent street and walk to the farm.

Practical Farmers’ 2017 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Ag Ventures Alliance; Albert Lea Seed; Center for Rural Affairs; Fertrell; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; Lemken; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; Riverside Feeds, LLC; The Scoular Company; Trees Forever; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); Upper Iowa Audubon Society; USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.


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.