The IFC board relies on many who volunteer their time in a greater capacity to serve as board officers.
Producer Board Officers
Meadow Blazing Star
Andy Joseph & Catherine Rihm
We operate Meadow BlazingStar Honey out of our home in the Beaverdale area of Des Moines. Andy has been keeping bees for almost 20 years, & our small family business began with his first hives. We now manage about 200 hives & are very happy to be a part of the Coop community & to provide our products through their system. We have been producer members of the IFC since 2016 & are starting our fifth year as IFC board members.
Visit their website here.
I’m proud to be part of the Des Moines community, which supports local food and goods, cares about the environment, acts as an instrument of change and is inclusive of all people. I am married to my husband, Rob, who I met over 24 years ago, we have two children, Trey and Elias, and a dog, Lua. We love living in central Des Moines, the heart of our city.
Visit her website here.
Eileen Wuebker with Crescentia Farms became a producer member in 2015 seeking an opportunity to market their Iowa grown grapes with IFC. Along with her husband, Mark, and their children they operate a small farm business located on 10 acres in rural Story County. They grow a variety of vegetables, grapes, and chickens for egg production. Their high tunnel and outdoor production includes asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, kohlrabi, potatoes, pumpkins, radish, squash, sweet corn, and tomatoes.
Prairie Landscapes of Iowa
Inger Lamb has loved all things related to plants and nature since she was a child growing up in Flint, Michigan but frequently visiting a family farm in western Iowa. She eventually received BS and MS degrees in Botany (San Diego State University), a PhD in plant physiology from the Ohio State University, and inherited the Iowa century farm. During time as an at-home Mom she volunteered at the Missouri Botanical Gardens for three years. This involved work at the Shaw Nature Reserve collecting, cleaning, growing and planting prairie species in both the reconstructed prairie areas and a home native landscaping demonstration area. She describes realizing native plants could be used in her perennial landscaping beds (and not require irrigation!!) as an enormous “aha” moment. After moving to Iowa in 1999 Inger expanded her prairie and native landscaping horizons by volunteering at an outdoor classroom prairie and as president of the Iowa Prairie Network for over a decade. She has also organized many native plant sales and written articles about native landscaping. She has taught Restoring Native Landscapes, Botany and Environmental Science classes at DMACC Ankeny and Urban campuses, and given lectures about native landscapes at the Des Moines Botanical Center. Today as owner of Prairie Landscapes of Iowa LLC she uses knowledge gained from 25+ years of prairie and native flowerbed management experiences when consulting on both small and large scale native planting projects. She consults with public and private, urban and rural landowners, providing enthusiasm, advice, and hands-on assistance to make sure the end results are attractive, sustainable landscapes filled with native plants. She also sells native plants through the Iowa Food Coop, where she has volunteered for several years and joined their board in 2021.
Knob Hill Farm
Janine Robertson and her husband Mike, along with their three adopted children, Carlie, Michael, and Oliver, live in Webster City and run Knob Hill Farm. They bought this acreage in 2013 and started the process of organic certification for their ground, hogs, chickens and crops. They have been Certified Organic since 2016. They raise Berkshire cross pigs, laying hens and vegetables as well as hay and small grains that they farm with their team of draft horses. Janine’s background has always been in agriculture. She grew up on a farm in central Iowa and has always enjoyed being part of raising food for herself and others. She graduated from Iowa State University in Agricultural Communications, not sure where life would take her. Her path to being a farmer was a winding one. Past employment includes: Living History Farms in Urbandale, where she held a variety of positions ranging from Day Camp assistant director to Agricultural interpreter to Event and Rental Coordinator, and where she met her future husband, a concierge at a guest/dude ranch in Wyoming between Jackson Hole and Yellowstone N.P., Front Desk at a local grain/feed cooperative, and most recently as a floral designer. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a common thread connecting this path, but it boils down to Janine enjoys the outdoors, agriculture, and people. Recently, Janine left the ‘work world’ to be able to invest more time and effort into her growing family and the market garden. Aside from selling through Iowa Food Cooperative, Knob Hill Farm is part of the Ames Main Street Farmers Market and they sell directly to end consumers.
Janine is looking forward to serving on the IFC Board and helping the COOP in its mission to provide good food from local producers to the community.
Star Grass Farms
Jason Jones is a certified organic market farmer, who along with his wife Erin and children Mabyn and Jade, owns and operates Stargrass Farm in Maxwell, IA. Jason has worked for nearly 20 years in the local food system in central Iowa. Jason has operated in several direct marketing models including CSA and farmers markets. He was also one of the original producer members of the IFC, selling then under the name Wilted Leaf Farm.
Visit his website here.
Consumer Board Officers
I’m Susan Ekstrom and my husband Max Burkey and I are enthusiastic members of the Iowa Food Cooperative. I am currently the board president and have enjoyed serving on the board for several years. There is no better way to learn about our food, it’s production or how it’s grown, as well as marketing, sales, and manufacture. The members and producers of the Co-op are the best people with admirable values and ethics, and I feel lucky to be a part of the organization. I’m a retired attorney and mediator, and now spend my time gardening, cooking, volunteering and being outdoors.
IFC is my favorite place to shop – I look forward to the experience of buying food from folks I know. Being involved in the coop is a privilege I cherish.
A few of my other passions are woodland rehabilitation, maintaining pollinator habitat and restored prairie on our acreage in Waukee where we live with 2 dogs, 4 cats, a handful of chickens, 3 alpacas, and one goat named Stormy.
I’ve been a member of the IFC since 2016, a board member since 2018, and I became the VP of Consumers in 2019. I’m a life-long foodie, and huge advocate for our local food system. I enjoy representing our consumer members on the board and always strive to do what’s right for all involved. I’m also a volunteer at our Pleasant Hill satellite location and enjoy how it allows me to connect with members. One of the greatest pleasures of my position on the board is being able to take feedback from everyone and use it to help make our food coop even better.
In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and riding my motorcycle.
My name is Brant Kassel and I currently serve as the secretary for the IFC board. I live in Des Moines with my wife Lynn and our two awesome kids (Elliott- 4 and Hazel – 1). I enjoy gardening, bike rides, listening to records, and cooking when I’m not busy with my day job as a stay at home dad. I love the Iowa Food Coop because of the people and the great food.
I have been a consumer member since 2010 and was first elected to the board in 2013. After a brief absence I am back again. In addition to holding the treasurer position I do some work for the IFC as an accountant. I live on a farm in Lacona with 3 dogs, numerous farm cats, and 18 chickens. I love the co-op as it is an avenue to eat local and support small businesses.
I was born and raised in Beaverdale and have enjoyed raising my daughter here. I am passionate about creating a sustainable local food supply, and a community that uplifts and magnifies it. My background includes photojournalism, a Fine Art degree from the University of Iowa with an English minor, marketing, and data analytics. By day I work in Data Management at American Equity. In my free time I enjoy arts and crafts with my 5 year-old daughter Cordelia, reading, cooking, and powerlifting. I joined the co-op board in 2021 and look forward to using my talents to serve the wonderful people in this community.
My name is Katie Niday and I live in Beaverdale with my husband Bret and daughters, Joan, and Nora. I have a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit business management and sociology that I earned at Warren Wilson College, a tiny farm school in Asheville, NC. After college I moved to northern California where I worked for a rural public school district and was an active member of the North Coast Co-op for 8 years. My family and I moved back to Des Moines in 2018 where I work in the business and finance department for Des Moines Public School District. I am currently completing a master’s degree in public administration at Drake University. I am passionate about local food systems and sustainable agriculture. I am an avid gardener, cook, reader and piano player. My family and I love the Iowa Food Co-op and are always excited to support our local producers.