Fall is the time of harvest, of reaping what has been sown. It is a time to delight in abundance and to be grateful for all that the Universe provides. Here at Prairiewoods, we are astonished by all that we are honored to harvest—from the hearty squash to the sweet plums to the caring relationships that are ever-evolving with Earth, Spirit, self and others.

Please allow us to share some of what is being harvested here at Prairiewoods!

We harvest the creative ideas, plans and designs of the flower gardeners. Using God’s palette of colors, shapes and sizes, they lend their own unique talents to tend the flowering beauty that feeds our souls. Their commitment, energy, hard work and joy is a harvest of inspiration!





Weekly, we harvest a special crop with our Wednesday Outdoor Crew. Not only do they sweat while doing routine mowing and upkeep, they also suggest and carry out improvements that will make Prairiewoods flourish. Over years of service, they have moved from volunteers to special guardians of the land!


Over the last three years, we have been harvesting a mutually beneficial relationship with Metro Catholic Outreach (MCO) via our veggie garden, known as the Green Prairie Garden. We provide the land to grow food for our guests and for the MCO food pantry, and MCO provides many of the volunteers that tend the garden. This relationship has harvested around 2,000 pounds of produce just this year!


A fairly new relationship that is plentiful in its harvest is our collaboration with Backyard Abundance, a nonprofit organization in Iowa City with a focus on edible landscapes and permaculture—a gardening style that incorporates the natural cycles of nature, making gardening a more joyful, connected experience. This harvest includes the creation of the Healing Garden, our ever-developing Garden of Eat’n and permaculture beds in the Green Prairie Garden. Jen Kardos and Fred Meyer, Backyard Abundance co-directors, love visiting Prairiewoods … and we love learning from them!


Although a number of our staff members have been at Prairiewoods for its entire 21-year history, we are growing and changing. On Aug. 21 (the day of the solar eclipse), Angie Pierce Jennings joined the Prairiewoods staff in the new position of Hosted Groups & Hospitality Coordinator. Angie has always felt welcome at Prairiewoods and is very excited to offer that hospitality to all our visitors! She has a great love for music and the arts, is a people person, loves nature, and is an advocate for education and environmental sustainability. We celebrate in harvesting new relationships with a growing and changing staff!


We are grateful for the many relationships that make Prairiewoods what it is today! In what ways are you harvesting relationships—with Earth, with our loving Creator, with yourself or with other people? Perhaps you are:

  • standing up for Earth by taking action for renewable energy (with an organization like 350.org)
  • improving your relationship with God and God’s people by championing interfaith relations (through an organization like the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County, www.IRCLC.org)
  • getting centered and grounded in who you are as a person (through participating in Prairiewoods spiritual direction or programming like yoga, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a Silent Directed Retreat or Wednesday Women)
  • helping your neighbors by committing to permaculture and pesticide-free lawn care (check out www.GoodNeighborIowa.org)

Whatever you are doing to harvest relationships, we would love to hear your story! Please share it with us on Facebook.

—Nancy Hoffman, FSPA; Angie Pierce Jennings & Emelia Sautter; Prairiewoods staff members

Posted Oct. 24, 2017