Morning Glory, LLC is a vegetable farm operated by Donna and Bill Warhover. As a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), we share the benefits and risks of growing food. You are supplied with fresh, local, nutritious produce grown using organic practices and we are provided with the “seed money” needed to grow your veggies, pursue our passion to live life in a more sustainable way, AND share that goodness with others.
A Brief History of Our Farm
After completing the Master Gardening classes through Iowa State University in 2010 Donna Warhover began searching for an internship project. She contacted the director of Goodwill’s Day Habilitation program for adults with disabilities to see if they would be interested in starting a vegetable garden. They were! A local church donated ground and the group began to plan a garden. They purchased seeds, grew them under grow lights, built raised beds and filled them with truckloads of rich compost. The seedlings were planted and cared for week after week. What Donna noticed was the new gardeners were transformed when they were working in the garden. One client with an enormous amount of energy, often misdirected, would become calm and focused as he tended the garden. Donna now realizes that they were not the only ones being transformed. It was this experience that began to fuel a new passion in her.
Donna and husband, Bill, began to think of ways that they could change their lifestyle to bring them closer to the earth. Wikipedia says sustainability for humans is the potential for long-term maintenance of well-being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. Their dream to live life in a more sustainable way, closer to the earth, while sharing that goodness with others was beginning to be realized when they purchased a small farm in Mount Vernon, Iowa in May of 2013. They immediately began tilling the ground and Morning Glory was born!
2013 Year ONE
In our first growing season we grew vegetables for 10 CSA shareholders (two of which were shares purchased by out-of-towners and donated directly to Table to Table, a food rescue and distribution organization in Iowa City). Both Bill and Donna continued to work full-time away from the farm.
2014 Year TWO
We increased our shareholders to 20 and were also able to donate over 1,200 lbs. of produce to Table to Table for those that may not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We hosted Goodwill’s Day Habilitation participants (usually 12 – 20 people) each month during the growing season to allow them the opportunity to learn about and discover first-hand the wonderful things a farm has to offer. In the fall of 2014 we worked collaboratively with ZJ Farm, Wild Woods Farm, and Abbe Hills Farm to offer fall and winter produce for 125 shareholders through Dick Schwab’s Bountiful Harvest Farm. Both Bill and Donna continued to work full-time away from the farm.
2015 Year THREE
In the spring of 2015 a greenhouse was constructed, and by early summer shareholders were increased to 50. We began selling at one weekly farmers market, and hired two part-time farm workers: Bridget Fonseca and Rochelle Wiedenhoeft. We hosted 12-20 high school aged summer campers once a week during the summer camp season, and continued to host Goodwill’s Day Habilitation participants once a month during the growing season. In September we constructed a high tunnel from funds received through an EQIP Grant. With the addition of the high tunnel we were able to provide a fall share to 25 shareholders and sell produce at a local farmers market through mid-December. We also donated over one ton of produce to Table to Table in 2015. While Bill continued to work full-time away from the farm, Donna reduced her off farm employment to 20 hours per week from May through October. On December 31, 2015, Donna resigned from her position as executive assistant to the CEO of Goodwill of the Heartland.
2016 Year FOUR
We began our fourth growing season by meeting our goal of 30 shareholders for our first Spring Share. We had budgeted for 100 Summer Shares but only obtained 59 and were forced to find other income revenues. We increased our farmers market presence from two to four markets each week and began pursuing sales to restaurants, chefs, and schools. We employed two workers (Bridget Fonseca and Jake Kundert) totaling 40 hours per week. We continued to host Goodwill participants and also hosting Sustainable Agriculture students from Coe College. The growing season was concluded with an eight week Fall Share for 33 shareholders. Morning Glory also became a place for community and private events. Provender (a wood-fired pizza truck) and Local Burrito (a truck vendor) each hosted community events. Cornell College hosted a Staff Appreciation dinner. The Farmer’s Table held their Taste of Summer event at Morning Glory. Friends of Bill and Donna hosted their 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration on the farm. All events featured food prepared with Morning Glory produce.
2017 Year FIVE
Our fifth growing season was amazing! We became a Labor4Learning farm through Practical Farmers of Iowa and began mentoring a new beginning farmer. We hired Margaret Wolter as a full time employee and Hannah and Austin as part time employees. We sold out of 30 Spring Shares, increased our Summer Shares to 70 families, and ended the season with 40 Fall Shares. Morning Glory sold at four farmers markets each week from May through October. We added a new drop off location in Coralville and teamed up with Harvest Oil & Vinegar to host those share pick ups. Becky’s Mindful Kitchen provided recipes to our shareholders using the produce in each week’s share. We relied on a host of amazing volunteers that helped throughout the season in all sorts of different ways and enjoyed a volunteer appreciation dinner at the end of the season to honor their hard work and commitment to the Morning Glory mission.