A panel of Eastern Iowa Farmers who care deeply about soil health and water quality. These Iowa natives have decades of experience in agriculture and have seen first-hand the effects of un-sustainable agricultural practices on the landscape of Iowa. Listen as we discuss the importance of soil health, the problems and opportunities future farmers face, and ways we can improve agriculture for better food and environment.
Gary Siegwarth ran for Governor of Iowa in 2018 as an Independent Candidate and formed the Clear Water Party of Iowa. Listen as he discusses the future of agriculture, what he learned while running for Governor, and why water connects us all.
Gary Siegwarth has been a Natural Resource Biologist for the Iowa DNR Fisheries Bureau the past 26 years. He has managed Big Spring Trout Hatchery near Elkader the past 18 years. Prior to that he was the Interior Streams and Rivers Research Biologist for the State of Iowa. Prior to his career in natural resources, Gary operated the family farm in Jackson County. In 2018, Gary ran for Governor of Iowa as an Independent candidate and formed the Clear Water Party of Iowa. Part of his mission was to raise awareness and to change our way of thinking for both natural resources and the potential of the future of a more diverse and transparent agricultural system in Iowa.
Gary’s Website: https://garyforgov.org/
Patrick Cowden, Executive Chef at The Pharmacy Cafe and Green Planet Catering in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses partnering with local farms, the importance of community, cooking with food in season, creativity in the kitchen, how he uses resourceful methods to reduce food waste, and why transparency is needed for a quality food system.
In November 2015 Chef Patrick Cowden partnered up with Daniel Whittaker to take ownership of The Pharmacy Café in Raleigh North Carolina. Their vision was to create a friendly neighborhood modern take of an old school pharmacy lunch counter. Located in an actual working pharmacy that has been serving the public for over a hundred years they serve hand crafted soda jerk style offerings (sodas/egg creams/fizzes), gargantuan biscuits, and creative upscale sandwiches that are all driven by what is seasonal and available locally. Whittaker and Cowden also operate Green Planet Catering, an award winning sustainable catering company that serves Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill.
Chef Cowden, who attended New England Culinary Institute, had done long stints as Executive Chef of Tobacco Road Sports Café’s three locations and The Weathervane Restaurant at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill before starting this new adventure. As a long time resident of the Triangle he has steered the course at such places as Michael Jordan’s 23 Sport Cafe, The Grill at Glen Lennox, Michael Dean’s, Jean Claude’s Café, and his own restaurant Patrick’s Seasonal Cuisine which was located in North Durham. All of which have garnered numerous accolades and have appeared on many best of lists in the triangle.
As a Chef who is committed to North Carolina products and local producers he showcases these products and farmers on his menus. He has also taken part in numerous Farm-to-Fork picnics and has been a finalist in the Best Dish of North Carolina sponsored by the Dept. of Agriculture. Another driving factor behind Chef Cowden’s philosophy is his commitment to sustainability. He strives to reduce the ecological impact of his operations to the barest minimum. This commitment coupled with a passion for exciting Southern inspired cuisine makes Chef Cowden a natural fit for Green Planet Catering and Person Street Pharmacy Cafe.
Kat Nigro teaches us about CompostNow and how they are doing their part in building a better food system. Composting, healthy soil, community building, and education are essential for us to build a better world.
Kat Nigro lives in Durham, NC and is the Head of Marketing & Engagement at CompostNow. Kat studied Environmental Science with a focus in Soil Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She’s been involved in the community composting movement for the past 4 years and is enjoying watching it grow throughout the country. She’s passionate about healthy soil, community building, intersectional feminism and writing her own introductions!
CompostNow is a doorstep collection service who empowers community members and businesses to divert their compostables from the landfill and, instead, use those nutrients to build healthy soil. Since 2011, their members have diverted over 6.5 million pounds of compostables from the landfill and have created over 2.8 million pounds of compost for local use.