How did we learn all of this? We’re still learning, but these great sources have served as our traditional, virtual and human library!¬†

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

All kinds of information on saving energy at home and work. You can spend hours at this site – just use the search box and lots of keywords.


The national database on tax incentives for renewable energy.

U.S. Green Building Council

A national non-profit source for green building construction and LEED certification.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Your district state forester will come to your property and walk your land with you. He’ll talk to you about what your goals are, and let you know what programs may be available to help you finance some of the work you want to accomplish. He can also provide a list of local tree nurseries and other resources to help you accomplish your goals.

Farm Service Agency

If your land was recently in agricultural production you may be able to find assistance at your county FSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the past there have been programs helping farmland owners to transition their land to wetlands, native prairie and tree plantings. There’s also assistance for living snow fence and other programs.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

The NRCS works with FSA and foresters, as well as the local Soil and Water Conservation District to help promote conservation practices.

Practical Farmers of Iowa

This group focuses on research that can help farmers farm more sustainably but it is a diverse group of conventional soybean and corn farmers as well as organic fruit and vegetable growers. What happens when they all get together in a room is fascinating and hopeful.

Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms

WWOOF is a massive network of volunteers and farms or landowners who need help. For one day’s room and board a volunteer will give you a half-day’s worth of work. You work out the details. And when it stops working for either one of you, move on!

 Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

This organization hosts one of the best national conferences for sustainable farmers. Practical workshops about how to use a chainsaw, how to grow shiitake mushrooms, what permaculture is and why it’s worth pursuing and so much more over three days and while you walk from one to the next workshop you’ll find yourself distracted by hundreds of vendors in the halls, plus an exhibit from the Farmland Preservation Artists and more.

Woodlands and Prairies Magazine

This little independent magazine based in Decorah IA has become a welcomed home for landowners new to prairie and woodland restoration. Stories of fellow travelers fill the pages, as well as more in depth articles full of expert’s experiences and wisdom.

Mother Earth News

Though corporate-owned (Ogden Publications) MEN has kept its soul and remains one of the best sources for how-to homesteading, DIY projects on an acreage or small farm and sustainable gardening. Its website is incredibly generous in free information and a pretty good search tool.

Backyard Abundance

An Iowa City-based nonprofit that offers permaculture workshops, design services and an annual plant sale of perennials useful for an Iowa climate. A great local resource!

Iowa Native Plant Society

This is a group of avid supporters of native plants. The listserve is packed with experts who can help guide you in moving toward supporting native plants and fighting invasive and exotic plants on your land.

Woodlands and Prairies Magazine

This little independent magazine based in Decorah IA has become a welcomed home for landowners new to prairie and woodland restoration. Stories of fellow travelers fill the pages, as well as more in depth articles full of expert’s experiences and wisdom.

Iowa Prairie Network

From the group’s website: “The Iowa Prairie Network is a grass-roots, volunteer, non-profit, organization that is dedicated to the preservation of Iowa’s prairie heritage. IPN was formed in 1990 by Iowans concerned that our prairie heritage was disappearing. People needed an organization that would bring those that know about prairie together with those that wanted to learn, to form a network of advocacy for Iowa’s natural heritage.”

Tallgrass Prairie Center

From its website: “The Tallgrass Prairie Center restores native vegetation for the benefit of society and environment through research, education, and technology…[It] is a strong advocate of progressive, ecological approaches utilizing native vegetation to provide environmental, economic, and aesthetic benefits for the public good. The Center is in the vanguard of roadside vegetation management, native Source Identified seed development, and prairie advocacy. The Center primarily serves the Upper Midwest Tallgrass Prairie Region and is a model for similar efforts nationally and internationally.”

Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund

This is the pot of gold for anyone looking for prairie resources in and around Iowa. Educational materials for teachers and prairie fans of all ages, free full color spiral bound books identifying prairie flowers, Iowa’s trees and shrubs and more, beautifully illustrated posters…much of this free thanks to the funding source for the Fund – gambling money. It’s easy to get lost on this site and never come back there is so much useful information.

Iowa Woodlands Owners Association

Promotes conservation and management of natural resources and provides educational support to landowners and tree growers (but also the supports the interests of corporate timber companies).


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway

Edible Forest Gardens by David Jacke

Growing Great Vegetables in the Heartland by Andrea Ray Chandler

Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard


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