PhD in living off-grid?

Here are two University press releases issued today that may be useful if you live in Iowa or Texas.

DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 3 — Drake University issued the following news release:

A free seminar for women farmers and food-based entrepreneurs will be held at the Drake University Law School on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

“Women are the primary drivers behind the explosive growth of the good food movement in the United States, and Lisa is a perfect example of this with her family-owned, off-the-grid B&B and farm,” said Leigh Adcock, executive director of Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

Lisa Kivirist, director of the Rural Women’s Project (a venture of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service), will present “Sowing Fresh Seeds” at 7:30 p.m. 2621 Carpenter Ave.

She is the author of the award-winning book “ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance ” and is a Kellogg Food and Society Policy fellow and a national advocate for women in agriculture. She also operates Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B of Browntown, Wis.

The Drake Agricultural Law Center is one of the sponsors of the event. “With so many emerging opportunities in food and agriculture, this is a timely workshop to inspire and encourage women to develop their potential,” said Alli Condra, president of the Drake Agricultural Law Association.

“Sowing Fresh Seeds” highlights stories of women farmers and ecopreneurs around the country, and offers participants the opportunity to share their experiences and challenges as they network with other women passionate about creating healthy food systems and green businesses. The presentation will also provide information on resources, such as grants, marketing assistance and new business ideas and trends.

Women own 47 percent of the farmland in Iowa, and the number of U.S. women farm operators increased 30 percent in the last USDA census. Women, both as producers and consumers, are the drivers behind the boom in small-market farms and rural businesses nationwide.

“As the number of women-owned businesses and farms continues to grow, opportunity abounds for women of all backgrounds, ages and interests to craft a livelihood that blends meaning with stewarding the planet and transforming our food system,” Kivirist said.

Kivirist also will present “Sowing Fresh Seeds” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Scattergood Friends School in West Branch, Iowa.

In addition to the Drake Agricultural Law Center, the seminars are sponsored by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service and Urban Ambassadors of Des Moines. Link for Drake Ag Law Center:

For more information, contact Matt Russell of the Drake Agricultural Law Center at or 515-271-4956.

MARFA, Texas, Nov. 2 — Texas A&M University, a component of the public university system in Texas, issued the following news from its agriculture program:

Rainfall is a precious commodity in dry West Texas. To help what little falls go farther, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a free rainwater harvesting workshop.

The workshop will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 17 in Marfa National Bank’s Community Room at 301 S. Highland in Marfa.

The group will leave the bank at 2:45 p.m. to travel to the Marfa Activity Center and Municipal Gas building to view a working rainwater system and one currently under construction.

The day’s speakers will include Billy Kniffen, AgriLife Extension water harvesting specialist at Menard, and Gary Bryant, AgriLife Extension water specialist at Fort Stockton.

The day’s topics will include: gray water management and use, rainwater harvesting on the cheap, living off the grid and rainwater harvesting basics.

For more information call the AgriLife Extension offices in Brewster-Jeff Davis or Presidio counties at 432-837-6207 and 432-729-4746 respectively.

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