Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Natural Resources (MNR)

Department

Natural Resources

First Advisor

Mark Brunson

Second Advisor

Chris Luecke

Third Advisor

Roslynn Brain

Abstract

Agriculture is the largest revenue source for the state of Iowa and the state’s two priority crops are corn and soybeans. Farming practices that emphasize monoculture production of these crops can reduce biological diversity and habitat for all-important pollinators, and exacerbate runoff and erosion that sends nutrient-rich soil, herbicides, and pesticides into streams and rivers. The industrial agriculture model is lucrative now, but unsustainable for Iowa over the long run. Sugar Grove Farm, a subset of Indian Creek Nature Center (ICNC), plans to grow a variety of food crops on a large-scale, economically sustainable farm, and support low-income households in Linn County by implementing a subsidized, community supported agriculture (CSA) program. By using the processes of agroecology and restorative agriculture, the nature center will work in conjunction with Iowa’s natural resources to grow quality produce that is affordable for a sector of the community who lacks financial opportunities to purchase quality fresh food. I have worked with numerous community partners, conducted research in agroecology, and conversed with experts in the field. This paper outlines the CSA logistics and plans, providing data and reasoning to the importance of sustainable agriculture and the necessity to educate Iowa’s future farmers to adopt similar techniques. Indian Creek Nature Center’s CSA program will launch in 2018.

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