Mary Swander has grown almost all her own food for 35 years on the grounds of what was once an old Amish schoolhouse near Kalona. Long Iowa winters called for becoming adept at food preservation, and Swander has learned to put food by with expertise she gained from her neighbors and her own ingenuity. After too many long, hot summers canning tomatoes in August, Swander turned toward dehydrating.
In this workshop Swander will emphasize easy and inexpensive ways to dehydrate on small and large scales. She will also demonstrate a cheap and simple method of root cellaring, the preservation method that retains the most nutrients.
The online workshop will be Saturday, July 24, 10-11:30am. Cost is $35. REGISTER HERE.
AgArts Circle was inspired by Mary Swander at the Practical Farmers of Iowa 2021 online conference. AgArts Circle connects people who mutually support each other in endeavors in the arts and agriculture.
The next online meeting will be Thursday, May 6 at 7:00pm CDT.
Interested? Email Janine at touringSWP@gmail.com.
Artwork by Jean Graham, 2019 AgArts resident artist at the Anna and Dave Geyer farm and Land Alliance Folk School.
The pulse of our nation is changing, and for business start-ups, that is both a challenge and an opportunity to think in new ways.
The experience of a global pandemic has led many to reconsider priorities and reevaluate what success looks like. In this course, we’ll learn the steps of starting an enterprise that grows out of your values and redefines success.
Week 1: Crafting a vision based on your values. Jan. 9, 10 am – 12 pm.
Week 2: Building a container: Leveraging what you have with what you need. Jan 16, 10 am – 12 pm.
Week 3: Cultivating systems of simplicity and adaptability. Jan 23, 10 am – 12 pm.
Week 4: Navigating the inner landscape. Jan 30, 10 am – 12 pm
Instructor Anna Geyer has 20 years of experience creating and operating several small businesses in rural Iowa. Best known is her wood-fired pizza venue, Geyer’s Oven. Most recently, she founded Land Alliance Folk School & Retreat Center, offering lodging, classes and retreats.
Swander Woman Productions
Online and in-person touring schedule. Very little in-person touring currently due to safety guidelines related to covid 19. For a presentation for your virtual event, contact touringSWP@gmail.com.
- Monday, October 26, 2020, 6:00-7:30pm: National Conference for Growing Community Foundations: Online Conference on Sustainable Community for All. Map of my Kingdom will be presented, featuring actor Cora Vander Broek, followed by a talkback and interactive discussion led by Mary Swander. On Tuesday, October 27, Mary Swander will be available from 2:00-3:00pm for pre-scheduled meetings with attendees. Hosted by the Kansas Association for Community Foundations. Conference buzz: “This is the most comprehensive conference for CFs that I am aware of.” “This is, full stop, one of the most important events of the year.” For more information, click here.
- POSTPONED: Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 7:30pm: Brush, Colorado. Brush High School Auditorium, 400 West Street, Brush CO. FREE and open to the public. Sponsored by Morgan Community College and Brush Area Chamber of Commerce, with support from Downtown Colorado, Inc.
- POSTPONED: Thursday, June 4, 2020: Springdale, Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. The Jones Center, Springdale AR. Erika Kuhn, actor. Mary Swander, playwright.
- Sun, September 22, 2019 from 2:00 to 4:00pm: Sharon Center, Iowa. Sharon Center’s historic Fellowship Lodge, 2765 500th Street SW, Iowa City IA. Lindsay Bauer and Jordan Dornbierer, actors; Mary Swander, playwright. Light refreshments will be served. Free, but donations appreciated.
- Sun, November 10, 2019 at 2:00pm: Maquoketa, Iowa. A Harvest of Memories and Hope. Maquoketa Art Experience, 124 South Main, Maquoketa IA. Open to the public. Suggested donation $5. Rip Russell, storytelling coach, and Mary Swander, talkback. Storytellers include Heather Moore, Lori Schnoor, Skott Gent, Cale Gent, Roger Stewart and Steven Tubbs. Plus food from local vendors and music by the Black Velvet Band. For more info, click here.
Wed, January 29, 2020 at 12:30pm: Muscatine, Iowa. FuFu and Other International Culinary Delights: Weird foods I’ve eaten. Theatre in Strahan Hall, Muscatine Community College, 152 Colorado Street, Muscatine, IA. Free and open to the public. Mary Swander, storytelling coach. Storytellers are MCC international students with roots in China, Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras, Sicily, Côte d’Ivoire, Ukraine, Brazil, Togo, Cameroon and the Netherlands. They’ve eaten rattlesnake and earthworms… and armadillos! Plus international music.
- Sat, February 22, 2020 from 2:00 to 4:00pm: Grinnell, Iowa. Food and farming stories from around the world, Grinnell College, Humanities and Social Studies Complex, N1164, Grinnell, IA. The public is invited for stories, music and international food. Sponsor: Center for Prairie Studies. Mary Swander, emcee; storytellers from Storm Lake and Muscatine communities. For more information, contact Prof. Jonathan Andelson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Center for Prairie Studies.
Imagine that you are an alligator, visiting a deserted mall!
The annual AgArts Field Day will be held Sunday, August 30 at the Land Alliance Folk School and Geyer farm at 1259 Rohret Rd SW, Oxford, Iowa, west of Iowa City. The program will begin promptly at 7:00pm.
Advance registration is required. The fee is $10 per car. REGISTER HERE.
The field day is a drive-in event this year, featuring Eulenspiegel Puppets performing Shenanigans: Animals in Charge! It’s a new show based on true stories of animal antics during a pandemic, “with a lot of imagination thrown in,” said Eulenspiegel director Monica Leo. The show will be entertaining for all ages.
Mary Swander will give a concise talk about AgArts, which imagines and promotes healthy food systems through the arts.
In addition, Anna Geyer will tell briefly about the Land Alliance Folk School, located on her family’s diverse farm which includes a food forest, cutting garden and wood-fired pizza oven.
Jean Graham, artist from Austin, Texas, participated in an AgArts Farm-to-Artist Residency at the Geyer farm last summer, and created a graphic zine about her experience. A few of Graham’s images will be shown before and after the puppet show.
Ice cream bars will be provided to all guests.
Sound will be available through FM car radios and through smart phones. Attendees are to remain in their vehicles and stay for the entire program, 7:00-8:15pm.
Attendees must register and pay $10 per car by August 29.
Rain date is Monday, August 31 at 7:00pm. Check AgArts or Land Alliance Folk School on Facebook for rain-related announcements.
The AgArts Field Day is a Friend-of-Practical-Farmers-of-Iowa event.
For more information, see AgArts.org, contact Mary Swander at 319.936.0187, email@example.com or contact Anna Geyer at 319.325.6609, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Hmong family who fled Communist bullets and wild tigers through the jungle of Laos to a refugee camp in Thailand. A Sudanese man who was thrown into prison in Ethiopia for helping the Lost Boys and left gasping for air through a crack under the door. A Mexican woman who taught herself English by looking up the profane words that were hurled at her during her first job while working in a meat packing plant. A Dutch boy who put the flag of the Netherlands through the paper shredder and declared, “I am an American.”
These are some of the characters brought to life in Vang, a drama about recent immigrant farmers to the Midwest.
Vang captures the stories of immigrants’ journeys to the U.S. and how they have made farming a sustainable way of life in America.
Vang (meaning “garden” or “farm” in Hmong) is written by award-winning author Mary Swander. It features photographs by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Deni Chamberlain.
Sign up to see Vang, Tuesday, March 30 at 4:00pm CDT, part of Cesar Chavez Week at South Dakota State University.
The event, featuring Vang plus a talkback/ Q & A with author Mary Swander, will be held at Jacks’ Place at SDSU, Brookings, SD. It’s online too. Sign up here!