The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are many, but one thing that hasn’t changed for Iowa’s small farmers is the need for timely, accurate information.
One way Iowans can stay informed is by listening to the Small Farm Sustainability Podcasts, a project led by Christa Hartsook, the small farms program coordinator with Farm, Food and Enterprise Development at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
The podcasts have been offered since 2015, but with the current set of events and so many cancelations of face-to-face learning opportunities, Hartsook has increased the frequency of episodes.
New topics are featured each week, and each episode is available for free and archived, so producers can listen whenever and wherever they please.
Upcoming topics include food safety and evaluating animals in an online format versus in-person.
In April, Hartsook interviewed Dannelle Bickett-Weddle, associate director for the Center for Food Security/Public Health at Iowa State University, in a conversation about biosecurity related to COVID-19.
In a March episode on spring vegetable production, Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, talked with Ajay Nair, associate professor and extension vegetable production specialist with Iowa State. In another March episode, Hartsook interviewed Hannan in a conversation about transplants.
“The podcasts have provided us a way to get increased information out to the public,” said Hartsook. “We’re really trying to make sure that people have all of the information they need, especially with what’s going on in the world.”
“We recognize that we can’t hold our in-person lessons and classes as we have in the past, so with the podcasts producers can tune when they’re out and about, and they can listen at any time,” she said.