Giving Tuesday

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What a wonderful year Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area has had in 2023!

In January we started the year with the wonderful news that the National Heritage Area program, of which Silos & Smokestacks is a part, was authorized by the federal government through 2037. This means for the next 15 years we will be able to focus on our work to tell and preserve the story of American agriculture without having to continually seek federal authorization every couple of years. As you can imagine those efforts in the past have been very time-consuming yet very important to ensure the work of the heritage area continues. Silos & Smokestacks currently has 110 heritage area sites for which we provide technical assistance, program awards, trainings, and advice. Now we can focus entirely on serving those sites and growing new sites that help us tell and preserve the story of American agriculture.

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area remains the only national heritage area in Iowa and the only one nationwide that tells the story of American agriculture. For over 25 years we have worked diligently to grow the heritage area, increasing visitation to rural communities, preserving Iowa history,
boosting tourism and having a positive economic impact on many Iowa communities large and small. With our authorization secure for the next 15 years we can now begin to focus on where we’ll go in the future.

One of the important things our board of trustees undertook in 2023 was to develop ways to increase resources to support our work. Our federal support has remained the same for the past 24 years with no increases, yet, as we all know, costs for doing business continue to rise. Our board took a long, hard look at what we can do to raise funds yet still meet our mission and in April Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area successfully launched the first annual Iowa Eats Food & Drink Festival.

Iowa Eats highlights Iowa agriculture food, drink and products with the goal of reaching folks who may not be aware of all that Iowa agriculture provides to their daily lives. The event featured vendors, demonstrations, speakers, and several of our heritage sites. We had 1100 people attend this first year event, from 46 different communities and 8 different states!! We had some great supporting partners, including Farmer’s State Bank, Iowa Corn Growers, and KWWL TV, among others. Check out the Iowa Eats website for photos from the first year.

We are excited to share that we will be doing it again in 2024! Save the date of Saturday, April 6, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Waterloo Convention Center for year two of the Iowa Eats Food & Drink Festival. You can find details of next year’s event and purchase tickets on the Iowa Eats website. And if you or someone you know has a business that features Iowa agriculture products please go online and sign up to be a vendor. Vendors told us after the event that it was a great place to meet and engage new customers. So come be a part! Help make year two of Iowa Eats another great success.

To continue with the wonderful events of 2023, we added a Discovery Area for young and old alike in our headquarters at 305 W. Park Ave in Waterloo. It includes information about the seasons of farming, transportation for
agriculture products and a way to measure up how you stand next to Iowa’s crops. It’s a fun and engaging experience along with the other interpretation we have in the headquarters. Come see it and then plan your visit to some of our sites. We will be happy to assist you in that!

And finally, one other new thing that has been added to the 2023 fun of Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is our partnership with the Iowa Gallivant. The Iowa Gallivant has been traveling around the heritage area all year visiting our heritage area sites and sharing them on his page as well as his blog. We have had a lot of fun seeing what the Iowa Gallivant enjoys about his visits around the heritage area. You can check out his posts at

Your continued financial support of Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area makes these special activities and improvements to our headquarters possible. We truly rely on the gifts you send to us each year. We are very proud of our work and so thankful for your support.

Please take a moment to visit our website and make your #GivingTuesday gift. Together we can bring the story of American Agriculture to life!