Fairfield, IA

When we were at the iRenew Expo, we had several people tell us that we MUST go to Fairfield on the tour…so we adjusted our schedule and went there during our Iowa City stop. It’s a short jaunt down there from Iowa City…through cornfields and flowers. It a virtual hot bed of freethinking people…which is kind of strange to find in the middle of Iowa. We arrived and parked at Everybody’s Whole Foods from from 11am-2pm. We were able to talk with a variety of passersby coming to eat during their lunch hour. I was excited to find so many locally produced foods within the coop. Before we left, I bought some delicious organic cheese (the best cheese I’ve ever had…from Radiance Dairy. Yum), chocolate soy pudding, and hummus…all made right in Fairfield!

We had contacted Lonnie Gamble before we arrived and he was able to come down to say hello. Lonnie is very well-known around Fairfield and has extensive experience in the area of sustainable living. Lonnie is an engineer, educator, farmer, and community activist. He is the founder of Abundance Ecovillage and Big Green Summer, a 10 week summer intensive in sustainable design, where students live what they learn. He is a founding director and co-chair of the non-profit Sustainable Living Coalition. He is a founding faculty member in the four year Sustainable Living degree program at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

Lonnie’s professional qualifications include a degree in electrical engineering professional engineer license. His interests include renewable energy, the efficient and wise use of energy, local organic food systems, artisan foods and the slow food movement, natural building, permaculture design and local alternatives to the global economy. He is the founder of five companies in the areas of renewable energy and telecommunications. He speaks and writes regularly on issues in his area of interest.

He llves with his wife Valerie and their daughter in a strawbale passive solar home, where they harvest rain for water supply, get their electricity from solar and wind power, and eat something fresh every day from their extensive gardens. They haven’t paid an electric bill in 15 years. Click here for writings by and interviews with Mr. Gamble.(bio link).

He came to tour the RV and also to interview us for his radio show, Abundant Planet. He also gave us a tour of the facilities at Maharishi University, where he teaches in the sustainable living program. The program is the only 4-year degree program in sustainable living in the country. They are doing all kinds of cool things there…rainwater catchment, biodiesel production, solar projects, wind turbine projects, “slow” food projects…The buildings are under construction right now, but we were able to see a photo of what the finished project will look like.
It’s rare to meet a man of such passion and direction…we were encouraged by his commitment to his family, students, and his community.

The BioTour guys made a stop in Fairfield during their tour last year…you can read about their experiences here. They were able to spend a longer amount of time there and they give a great description of all Fairfield has to offer.

Photo album here.

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