Suzan Erem, left, speaks with Patti Edwardson about organizing a SILT trip to her region of the state.

This year’s Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers meeting had a new face in the exhibitor crowd with SILT planted neatly between Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa State’s new Value Added program. SILT President Suzan Erem, board member Paul Durrenberger and volunteer Julia McGuire staffed the table and spoke to new friends about the concept of protecting their fruit and vegetable growing land in perpetuity.

The two-day conference drew about 100 people and included workshops on alternative fruits, agritourism and aquaponics. It was the last conference in a series of January meetings and gatherings that included the Practical Farmers of Iowa conference, a day-long gathering of all Iowa land trusts (attended by board member Sheila Knoploh-Odole and Erem) and a gathering of conservation groups in Johnson County that drew 50 people and 28 organizations.

February promises to be just as busy. Interested in volunteering to talk with Iowans about how to protect their land? We could use your help Рespecially at the Hawkeye Farm Show in Cedar Falls March 2 and 3. Contact us today for more information.