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Silos & Smokestacks Funds Projects Telling America’s Agricultural Story

Northeast Iowa–Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) has awarded $50,000 to nine Heritage Area sites, communities and organizations. Projects funded through the General Grant Program are dedicated to telling America’s agricultural story, both past and present. Recipients of SSNHA’s 2015 General Grants include:

African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, $7,500
Products of a Creative Mind
Develop a new year‐long exhibition and program at the museum featuring the contributions of African American inventors and innovators in agriculture, food science and agribusiness.

Benton County Historical Society, Vinton, $600
Indoor Interpretive Signs for Vinton Depot
Design, fabricate, and install four new indoor interpretive signs covering the importance of the Vinton Depot and railroad area, both agriculturally and historically. The signs will highlight Green Giant Canning Factory, Pearl Button Factory, Hawk Bilt Machinery and other local businesses.

Forest Grove School Preservation, Bettendorf, $5,000
Farms and Families of Forest Grove
Produce a high-definition digital video history of country school teachers, students, parents and education practices of Forest Grove School No. 5 from 1873 – 1957 and the working farms and families surrounding Forest Grove School No. 5 from 1920-Present.

 Four Mounds Foundation, Dubuque, $4,790
Farm & Food Weekend
In an effort to provide access to Farm-to-Table dialogues and activities, the Farm & Food Weekend will be expanded to include a new Kick-Off Event and Farm Crawl.

Jones County Historic Preservation Commission, Anamosa, $5,000
Interpretive Plan for Wapsipinicon State Park Historic District
Assistance for developing an interpretive plan for the Wapsipinicon State Park Historic District that will emphasize and enhance the district’s connection to Iowa’s agricultural history, focusing on the themes of The Fertile Land, Farmers, and Families.

Northeast Iowa Community-Based Dairy Foundation, Calmar, $10,000
Interpretive Signage Updating
Design new signage and learning materials for the nutrition room and Hall of Breeds at Iowa’s Dairy Center, to showcase key nutrition concepts and Iowa’s dairy story for youth participants and visitors.

Practical Farmers of Iowa, Ames, $5,610
Celebrating Iowa’s Farm Legacy: Play Performances and Legacy Letters
Produce five performances of the play Map of My Kingdom that discuss the future of farms, farmland, and the transfer of farmland ownership. 20 Farm Legacy Letters will be written to document what matters most about farms from the perspective of their farmers and their thoughts on succession.

River Action, Davenport, $10,000
Reviving the Legacy of the First Railroad Bridge Across the Mississippi River
Through development of new outdoor interpretive signage and educational programming, the story of linking western agricultural products to the Chicago grain and livestock markets will be revealed.

The Wallace Centers of Iowa, Des Moines, $1,500
Food for Thought Dinners
Dinners will combine locally-sourced food along with facilitated conversations about food issues ranging from production and global impacts, to specific ingredient information and their methods of preparation.

“Agriculture has shaped our history and continues to change the world we live in. These projects are crucial to providing a more widespread understanding of our agricultural past, present, and future,” commented Don Short, SSNHA President.

Projects funded through SSNHA Grant Programs must provide a 1-1 non-federal match to the grant award. Since the program began in 2001, Silos & Smokestacks has funded over $1.8 million to non-profit organizations, local governments and communities with projects dedicated to preserving America’s agricultural heritage.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is one of 49 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. The Heritage Area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. Interstate 80 borders it on the south and Interstate 35 borders it on the west. Through a network of sites, programs and events, SSNHA interprets farm life, agribusiness and rural communities – past and present. To learn more about Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, please visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org.

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