We were drawn to the farm in 1990, located amidst some of North Iowa's most beautiful landscape. Our farming practices, while not "certified" organic, are in line with organic standard practices and hold what we do on the land accountable to this wonderful, ecological neighborhood.
Glacial evidence abounds at and around One Step at a Time Gardens! The rolling hills on the farm, rich soils and wet areas are all indicative of the farms’ connection to past glacial era. Located in southern Hancock County in North Central Iowa, we are right across the road from East Twin Lake, a natural, glacial wetland and upland woods complex. Our glacial past shaped and molded this area into one of Iowa’s most beautiful spots!
This terrain has worked to our advantage as we have woven our fields among the hills and shrub and tree plantings. The diversity at the farm creates microclimates and attractive homes for animals that are an asset in our system. We farm right along with frogs and salamanders, songbirds, waterfowl and raptors, and a range of beneficial insects that help in the gardens. We have added 45 acres of permanent cover, including prairie grasses and flowers, shrubs, trees, and restored wetlands, since we moved here in 1990.
Laura Jackson's book The Farm as Natural Habitat offers numerous examples of "working landscape" case studies and is a fit description of our farm. The farming practices we employ are consciously selected with an understanding that this farm is part of the larger ecosystem of our area.
The farm and neighboring public areas are busy all summer with activity. We invite our farm members and friends to come visit the farm and explore this beautiful area.
Recreation opportunities here include canoeing or kayaking on East Twin or West Twin Lakes, bicycling around the lakes or hiking throughout East Twin woods. In the fall, hunting is a favorite activity in the area.
A large wind turbine project is located just east of the farm. We use the direction of the blades to tell us the direction of the wind. This below picture looks east from our farm, revealing the typical landscape all around us.
Sustainable life choices come in many forms. We believe food - how and where it is grown, and the eater and farmer connection - is an important first step.
We farm in a way to protect the health of our members, ourselves, and the land. We rotate crops, feed the soil with compost and cover crops, apply physical barriers, and use biological products. We do not apply synthetic fertilizer or pesticides. Our goal is to promote health, integrity, and cooperation through growing food for people we know and care about. We provide our farm members with naturally raised, fresh, high-quality vegetables. We also offer several additional items, in cooperation with other local producers (for example, our fruit share), to expand your access to locally grown products. Our Weekly Note keeps members posted on the food, farm, and people making the food possible. We offer opportunities for members to come to the farm.
Check elsewhere on our website for many details about our products and the people.
Together, with our members and many organizational partners, we are discovering the hope that lies in the subtle complexities of reconnection with food, land, and people. Through our many years as a community-based farm, we continue to experience the dynamic ways local and regional food system revitalization serves the broader community.
We invite you to learn more about Iowa's key local food partners listed under our Great Links.
1999 - Belmond Young farmer of the Year Award, awarded to Jan Libbey
2012 - Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture