As many of you may know, the Center recently opened our first Iowa office in downtown Dyersville. I’ve been asked, “Why Dyersville?” a number of times, and I’m always excited to brag about our new home. While logistics played their part, we were thrilled to locate our Iowa office in a small town that represents the type of rural community we advocate to support.
Dyersville is home to the National Farm Toy Museum, a FarmTek distribution and education center, and the film site for the Field of Dreams. (As my colleagues will tell you, I’m obsessed with the immaculately maintained stream bank at the movie site.) The town also works hard to attract jobs and young families, boasts a great library and main street, and hosts a weekly farmers market. Dyersville, in short, is thriving.
Of course, it is the people who make any town great. And in true Iowa fashion, the Dyersville community has proven welcoming, hard-working, and curious to learn more about what the Center does. This community spirit was alive and well at our open house and ribbon cutting on May 20.
About 60 Dyersville residents and nearby Center supporters stopped by to celebrate our new office and the small business with which we share a space – Stepping Stones Massage. Over snacks and refreshments, Iowa and Nebraska staff was able to tell the community more about our work.
We also learned about the unique concerns and opportunities in Dyersville and the surrounding area. Local residents are interested in renewable energy, crop insurance, water quality, and the barriers facing beginning farmers. People were interested in discussing pragmatic steps to help prevent and adapt to a changing climate.
Events such as the Dyersville open house are invaluable to Center staff. Through conversation with local community members, we gain ideas that improve our work as well as the inspiration to keep fighting for the causes that are important to rural families and small towns.