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Workshop on the Driftless Karst Landscape August 25

Gene Schriefer and Paul Ohlrogge invite you to learn more about karst and conservation. They write:

Algae blooms in Florida and Lake Erie, Des Moines suing three northwestern Iowa counties for nitrate contamination, brown water advisories in Kewaunee County, whether the finger is pointed at urban runoff, failing septic systems or agriculture, water quality issues are making front page news.
Southwest Wisconsin has an abundant water resource. In Iowa County, this resource has been mapped. With information we can make informed decisions about how to utilize this resource wisely while ensuring that this supply of safe, clean water remains available use and enjoyment for future generations. While the data was collected in Iowa County, we share many similar karst features with our neighboring counties in the Driftless Region.

We have invited several experts to explain what we know and answer question about land use that positively and negatively impacts our water.

We’d like to invite you to attend a workshop on “Conservation in Karst Landscapes” on August 25, in Dodgeville. The main objectives for this program are:

  • Gain a basic understanding of the bedrock geology of Southwestern Wisconsin, how the geology increases the risk of groundwater contamination; gain a basic understanding of how highly permeable soils (sands) are a risk factor for groundwater contamination
  • Understand the tools local counties are using to determine depth to bedrock and map higher risk areas, and examine the strategies they have used to protect the groundwater resource.
  • Explain how to use field observations and mapping tools to locate karst features and be able to identity common karst features in the field.


UW-Extension Conservation in Karst Landscapes

9:30: Welcome and Overview of the day

9:35: Understanding Karst and Karst Issues in Southwest Wisconsin
Understanding water movement in Sandy Aquifers—Madeline Gotkowitz,
Geologist, WGNHS

10:25: The groundwater resources of Iowa County—Paul Ohlrogge, UWEX CRD

11:05 Depth to Bedrock Mapping Techniques & Sinkholes in SW WI- Dave

12:05: Working Lunch: Mapping shallow bedrock: what we’ve learned -Eric
Cooley, UW Discovery Farms
Recommendations from the Northeast Wisconsin Karst Task Force Report
Kevin Erb, UW Extension

1 pm: Local experiences with Soil Health: What farmers can do to increase
infiltration and reduce nutrient losses— Gene Schriefer, UWEX Ag

1:45 Break

1:55 Optional Field Tour: Identifying Karst Features in the Field/Quarry trip

Iowa County HHS
303 W. Chapel Street
Dodgeville, WI 53533
Phone: (608)930-9850

9:00 a.m. August 25
Iowa County Health & Human Service Building,
303 W. Chapel Street, Dodgeville, WI

Registration—$20—checks payable to UWEX (due August 19)

What is food resilience?

There are a lot of ways to think about food resilience, and authors from across North America wrote about their experiences, research and vision in a collection of 27 papers, available for download at 

Tip: There is at least one paper that talks about food resilience in the Driftless region.

These papers are published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences and Studies as a symposium, Part 1 (13 articles) was published in September. Part 2 of the Symposium on American Food Resilience (14 articles) has now been published in the December issue of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. The website provides a complete list of abstracts for Symposium articles – and free downloads of final manuscripts for all the articles. The entire collection is exciting in the diversity of its coverage, as writers on various aspects of the food system draw upon a broad array of perspectives to throw light on a single high-stakes theme – the security of our food supply.


The papers form the basis for a workshop at the up-coming National Council for Science and the Environment conference (

The Food-Energy Water Nexus | January 19-21, 2016 …
News. Inside NOAA: News from the Office of the Administrator; The other inconvenient truth | Jonathan Foley | TEDxTC; WATER, ENERGY, FOOD – Nexus Thinking Explained

This is a 3-hour workshop ( The workshop, which is on the last day of the conference (Thursday afternoon January 21), will review key concepts and for improving food resilience and how participants are translating these ideas into action. The “Food-Energy-Water Nexus” theme of the entire conference will be valuable for anyone who works with the food system.

You asked, we researched…food transportation

Workshop: Freight innovations to optimize regional food resiliency

Register for the regional food freight workshop in Chicago here:

Tuesday January 5, 2016


Watching farm trucks pull into the Capital Square farmers market in Madison, WI can make one wonder how to get regional food to regional markets more efficiently. Driftless farm and food businesses, such as Driftless Organics, Morningside Orchard, 5th Season and Organic Valley work hard to figure out how to engage with green transportation options to get their products to Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Logistics, labor regulations, congestion, docking arrangements make this all very complex.

In April, 2010 CIAS started convening Driftless Food and Farm meetings where food transportation was identified as a top issue, but there were few resources available to address this critical component to resilient agriculture and food systems. In 2011 -2012, we made important links to researchers in logistics and freight transportation. In February 2013, we hosted the first regional food supply chain gathering in LaCrosse, where more than 100 businesses, NGOs, and allies convened to think through transportation barriers and opportunities. In 2014, a research team representing multiple different aspects of the food supply chain and leaders in the field continued to investigate the nature of regional supply chains and look for leverage points to elegantly improve systems. We learned from other nascent regional efforts in the New England States and California, and noted innovations in the private sector. We want to share this with you.

This meeting provides an opportunity to consider systemic improvements for moving food from rural to urban areas in such a way that potentially can meet the needs of all stakeholders and address critical issues like GHG emissions and food access. Much like past meetings, this one is intended to bring practitioners together to share their experiences, observations, successes and lessons learned. The format highlights some speakers from the field to jumpstart our conversations and we expect that much of the work will happen during small group discussions, over lunch and beyond.

If you have a stake in moving food from farm to market, please register. We need you at the table. Please share news of the conference with your supply chain partners and encourage them to come. If we pull together, forward momentum is assured.

The venue has limited capacity, so please register early to ensure a spot. Some scholarships are available. Please contact Michelle Miller if you are interested in one. mmmille6 AT, 608-262-7135

For more information on the conference including speakers and format, as well as information on past meetings and reports on regional food freight, go to the page dedicated to that work on this web site – tabbed at the top right corner “Regional Food Freight”.



New report: Agriculture, Transportation and Climate Change – considering the future of agricultural freight transport in the Upper Mississippi River Valley

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers took a closer look at how climate change might impact grain production and transportation in the Upper Mississippi River Valley. They surveyed current literature and interviewed 11 people across the supply chain, from private industry, state and local government, and agricultural and nonprofit organizations in this region. Their work sheds light on ways that climate change might affect agricultural production, markets and transportation in this region.

Check out the short report here or take a look at the POSTER climate ag trans 3

Sprouting New Tree Nut Businesses in the Midwest: Five Case Studies

Are you thinking about organizing a business to process nuts? You might want to take a look at this executive summary that covers five other nut processing and marketing businesses. Upload the document from this link: sproutingtreenutfinalweb

Growers in the Midwest are awakening to tree nuts as a possible source of farm income and a way to diversify their production. While U.S. almond production is based exclusively in California, the Midwest is well-suited for the production of black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, heartnuts and chestnuts, and pecans will grow in the region’s southern states.

Increasing tree nut production in the Midwest can potentially increase the sustainability of agriculture and food systems in this region. Diverse agroforestry systems, including systems with nut trees, have the potential to provide farm revenue, environmental benefits and resilience in the face of variable weather and extreme weather events. Edible nut production can be an integral part of diversified agriculture, including forest farming, which incorporates a variety of perennial plants. It is especially well suited to marginal land in rural areas. Because nut trees don’t require annual tillage, they hold the soil in place during extreme rainfall and wind events. Hazelnuts provide soil cover throughout most of the year. As part of a complex cropping system, nuts and other perennial tree crops can contribute to productive landscapes that help address the challenges of climate change, pests and diseases.

The report chapters include:

  • building a supply chain
  • production challenges
  • processing options
  • marketing and pricing unique products
  • lessons learned

This research emerged from regional work to support the emerging hazelnut industry, and will be posted on the Hazelnut link on this site, as well as at the UW-CIAS site.


Forest Garden Design class at the Arboretum

Saturday, October 3, 1-4 p.m.
Learn to garden like a forest and grow plants for food, fuel, and other functions! In this class instructors and participants will discuss mushroom cultivation, site considerations, plant guilds, plant selection, and forest garden designs. Plant lists and resources will be provided. Instructors: Marian Farrior and Amy Jo Dusick. Fee: $21 ($18 FOA).
Registration Link:

Driftless Farm Crawl near Dubuque

Maps & Field Guides Now Available
THIS SATURDAY – September 12th – 1:00-5:00PM

Grab a map and go! The Driftless Farm Crawl is a free self-guided tour of five local farms & community food projects including Four Mounds Community Garden, Sageville School Garden, Hideaway Garden (an organic vegetable farm), Hellert Family Farm (a fifth-generation homestead) & Park Farm Winery.

Visit one site, or travel to all five by car or bike along the Heritage Trail!
Field guides are available online, at the Dubuque Food Co-Op, Food Store, or Iowa Welcome Center this week. You can also grab a copy at the Friday night Weekend Kick-Off Event at the National Mississippi River Museum – A Free Screening of Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective at 6:30PM.

Each site will feature kids activities, samples, farm tours & demonstrations.


Local Government Summit on Energy and Resilience

November 18, 2015
University of WI – Stevens Point
The Wisconsin Academy, through its Climate & Energy Initiative, will convene a full-day leadership summit for local government leaders from Wisconsin and energy program leaders to advance clean energy, efficiency, and resilience for their communities.
The aim is to share best practices in—and identify needs for—moving communities and Wisconsin forward in curbing carbon emissions and encouraging energy innovation. This event will bring these groups together to learn what resources currently exist, and how organizations could collaborate more effectively. The intent of this summit is to build the foundation for an ongoing annual conference.
The Summit will:
  • Identify the needs, priorities, and current programs within Wisconsin local governments across the state through a pre-event survey. This will result in a report, which we will use to craft the Summit agenda.
  • Allow local governments of various sizes, and organizations that are designed to serve those municipalities in energy conservation/innovation efforts, to present and discuss their work with all attendees.
  • Provide time for group discussion among leaders with common needs to troubleshoot problems, share best practices, and develop professional networks.
  • Invite local-level media outlets to raise awareness of A) Wisconsin’s ongoing local-level leadership in energy efficiency and renewable energy, B) the needs of those local governments, and C) the state programs that exist to promote energy savings and innovation at the local level.
  • Identify options for action within the Climate Forward Report’s five “Pathways to Progress” that address municipal and local government needs in Wisconsin for cities of various sizes, which can be published on our web site.
  • Post a participant list for Wisconsin municipal and local government sustainability leaders, as well as resource organizations, engaged in responsive climate and energy strategies so they will be able to maintain contact and share their practices with each other.
For the agenda, speakers, to register or to sponsor the event, go to their web page at:

Marketing track at LaCrosse conference, July 27-29

Are you marketing products as Driftless or want to? Come share your experience and learn from others at the Northern Nut Growers conference in LaCrosse, Monday & Tuesday, July 27-29. Its not too late to register! For more information and to register, go to

Sessions & speakers on marketing and supply chains include a talk on Geographic Indication work linking the US and Europe, an international session on cashew supply chains, a session on supply chain for oils and vinegars: another session on wildcrafting nuts for market, and people from around the region building supply chains for nuts grown here.

On Monday:

Justin Gibson, VomFass, will be joining us from Madison, WI to talk about VomFass and how they work with growers and processors to deliver a high quality nut oil with a story to market.

Tom Rutledge, Hammons Products in Missouri, will talk about their supply chain, bringing wildcrafted nuts to international markets.

Bill Nash, Chestnut Growers, Inc. in Michigan, will share information on cooperative chestnut marketing.

Jeff Jensen, American Hazelnut Company, joining us from Iowa, will update us on regional hazelnut supply chain development.

On Tuesday:

Beth Barham, American Origin Products Research Foundation in Arkansas, is offering a workshop on Geographic Indication, with panelist Butch Weege past president of the Wisconsin Ginseng Growers Association, and another speaker, yet to be announced.

Karen Korsland & Amanda Sames from University of Minnesota, will talk about market research for regional hazelnut production.

Brad Paul, TechnoServe and the University of WI Land Tenure Center, will share his stories of cashew supply chains originating in Mozambique so that we can learn from international experience.

Wednesday tour – July 29:

Brad Niemcek, Kickapoo Culinary Center in Soldiers Grove, will show us the new products kitchen in this rural town and talk about hazelnut processing.

Dani Lind, Rooted Spoon in Viroqua, WI will talk a bit about the role of chefs in developing supply chains for regional food, and will show us how she does it by serving a delicious meal.

Organic corn field day – September 18th, East Troy

Breeding Corn for Organic Farmers with Organic Farmers.
Field day, Friday, September 18th, 10 AM to 3:30 PM, East Troy/Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

The Mandaamin Institute is breeding corn : 1) for high nutritional value (protein, methionine, lysine, and carotene) and taste; 2) that does not allow itself to be pollinated by GMO corn; 3) that is nitrogen efficient; 4) that combines these characteristics with good yields and dry-down. This research is funded by USDA-NRI-OREI, the Ceres Trust, and Organic Valley.

The field day will show how we are developing corn hybrids and varieties. And because this work can only succeed in conjunction with organic farmers and others, we will also highlight the work of our most local associates.

We will rendezvous at an organic café (2894 On Main) on the town square of East Troy, Wisconsin at 10 AM to see a unique partnership between market gardening and restaurant, run by the Rohrer family.

The first stop will be at the Rohrer farm. There we will view the Mandaamin Institute’s yield test plots and discuss how we are breeding for cross incompatibility with GMO corn. We will also view cover crop plantings in the corn and summer seeding berseem clover before heritage wheat. Organic farmer John Pounder will discuss his work growing and marketing open pollinated and hybrid corn varieties from our project and our cooperative work with heritage wheat varieties.

The second stop will be at the Goldstein’s organic farm (W2331 Kniep Road, Elkhorn, WI) to view the first yield trials of our N efficient hybrids. A lunch will be available there for $10 for those who register for the meal in advance. We will highlight corn bread made from our first released open pollinated variety, and eggs raised with our corn that have ultra-bright yellow-orange yolks. During lunch, cooperating corn breeder Kevin Montgomery (Montgomery Consulting, Maroa, Illinois) will speak about how to breed hardy, disease resistant corn for organic farmers.

Third stop will visit yield trials taking place on the historic Zinniker farm, which is a 75 year old biodynamic farm. There we will discuss relationships between farm management, yield trials, soil and grain quality, and weed control. John Bashaw of Pendragon specialties will show a hydraulic weeder suited for weed control in row crops, vegetables, and test plots.

Finally, those who wish to meet and talk further can meet back at the café for free tea or coffee.

Topics will include:
 Breeding corn for organic farming
 Grain quality, nutritional value, egg quality
 Breeding N efficient corn that works with N fixing bacteria
 Cross incompatible corn that avoids GMO contamination
 Cover crops, and organic and biodynamic soil management
 Weeds and weed control equipment
 Heritage wheats
 An organic café

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Biodynamic Association of North America, Pounder Bros Farm, Rohrer Enterprises, and Pendragon Specialties.