Seeds for the future

IMG_6664

Helen Gunderson during 2014 visit to DeElda Heritage Prairie. The prairie planting on Tuesday was on land up the hill to the right.

“Now I truly understand the sense of pride landowners get when seeing projects come to fruition,” Helen Gunderson said to me when we went to Pocahontas County to observe a 70-acre prairie planting on a portion of the 180 acres she recently donated to INHF with a reserved life estate. The property adjoins a 60-acre remnant prairie/pasture Helen previously donated to INHF, called DeElda Heritage Prairie (named after her grandmother, DeElda Lighter Gunderson).

IMG_1502

A few of the many bags of Carl Kurtz prairie seed for the May 2016 planting

Helen is an accomplished photographer and videographer and on that day we filmed and photographed Jon Judson planting the prairie seed (grown by Carl Kurtz, a longtime friend of Helen’s and INHF). She and I even got to hand scatter seeds along the terraces where the equipment couldn’t reach.

The 77 acres planted to CRP pollinator habitat surrounds a cornfield under transition to an organic operation by a young woman farmer, Betsy. Helen hopes that the new prairie buffer will help minimize cross contamination of the organic corn, as well as provide critical habitat.

Helen said that she had always thought the land would have more prairie someday, but it’s nice to see it happen during her lifetime.

For me, it was rewarding to be able to fulfill the dreams of a landowner, to support a young woman farmer and to give back to the earth — so that it can sustain the birds, insects, wildlife, water and air necessary for the existence of all life on the planet, for those who follow.

Thank you, Helen….
“Namaste prairie”

Lisa_Author_Banner

Helen Gunderson receives first Farmland Owner Award

My friend of many years, Helen Gunderson, has been awarded the first Farmland Owner Award from the Practical Farmers of Iowa. This award is given to property owners who are focused on the long-term health of their land, water and soil. It’s appropriate for Helen, who truly values and appreciates the many ways Iowa provides food and sustenance for not only people but also the entire food chain. For example, her home in Ames is an amazing example of how a small postage stamp can nurture fruit, nuts, chickens, vegetables and pollinators. She is also renting some of her farmland in Pocahontas County to a young, woman farmer who is growing organic corn. Continue reading