Francis Thicke, October Local Rockstar

The last Friday of October, Green Drink attendees had the pleasure of honoring Radiance Dairy’s Francis Thicke.

Where could one begin in listing his many accomplishments? This is a man who’s been walking his talk on sustainable agriculture and sustainable living for decades, and in the bargain giving the Fairfield community the ongoing boon of some of the best, purest and most nutritious dairy products in the known universe. I especially admire Francis for running for Secretary of Agriculture in 2010, and the outstanding campaign he ran to take the principles of shared agricultural wealth and sustainability to all of the people of Iowa. He’s a true champion of all that is best in life, and he’s a truly worthy winner of your RockStar award.

Patrick Bosold

Conservation Chair, Leopold Group, Iowa Sierra Club

I would like to offer my personal gratitude to Dr, Francis Thicke. Not just for all of the work that he does in many different fields, but also for offering me a crucial learning experience involving my compost work.

Francis allowed me to come to his farm several times over a few weeks to talk about and monitor his compost. We played with a pile and chatted about soil ecology. Although we only briefly discussed what it would take to manage a large pile to the highest standards, I learned an incredible amount. I see now what organic farmers are up against and what we all can do as a market to help support organic agricultural development.

I find Dr. Thicke to be a very forward thinking individual that will lead by example. As the industry changes over the next twenty years, Francis Thicke is a guy to be watching.

Thanks and blessings.

Jacob Bradford Krieger

Partner at Lower Meadow Farm LLC,

Sustainable Living Major,

Campus Sustainability Representative,

and Student Sustainability Council President at MUM

Francis Thicke is a Rockstar because he actually does things that other people think about or talk about doing but never find the time or courage to do. When I first met Francis he had an influential, well-paid, secure position with the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington DC. A lot of people in USDA think about and talk about “going back to the farm,” but Francis actually did it. And, he made a great success of it, as most folks in Fairfield know, particular those who enjoy the quality dairy products from his Radiance Dairy. A lot of people think about and talk about how we ought to do something to fix the mess called “farm policy,” but Francis actually did something. He ran for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, not because he thought he would win, although he might well have under different circumstances. He ran mostly because he wanted to use the “bully pulpit” of his campaign to tell Iowa voters the truth about American Agriculture. A lot of people think about and talk about becoming more involved in their community, but never find the time. Francis takes the time. He plays trumpet in the Fairfield Municipal band, he host tours for local students on his farm, makes public presentation in Fairfield and all across the country, and probably does dozens of other things I haven’t yet heard about. He doesn’t just think about and talk about what he might to do to help create a better world, he does things to make the world better. That what real “Rockstars” do.

—John Ikerd

Audio book now available: “Revolution of the Middle…”
Author of: “Sustainable Capitalism”
Kumarian Press
“A Return to Common Sense”
R. T. Edwards
“Small Farms are Real Farms”
Acres USA
“Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture”
University of Nebraska Press,
and “Essentials of Economic Sustainability,”
Kumarian Press:

The Cultured Goat


By Jan Swinton

Dean Goodale’s Sustainable Farms Development Group has just started a new enterprise: The Cultured Goat Dairy. This is the second dairy processing facility currently operating in Jefferson County, and has been selling fresh chevre goat cheese in three flavors: honey, herb and plain since July. They also plan on selling a goat Camembert in the near future .The milking, processing and cheese culturing is all done on the farm in a state inspected facility located on 140th St. north of Fairfield.

Although the cheese is not yet certified organic, sustainable practices are in place on the farm. The goat herd plays and grazes on Certified Organic pastures, they eat Certified Organic hay and some organic grain as well. Starting this fall their corn will be from the farm’s certified organic corn crop that appears to be holding up relatively well during this year’s drought.

“The Cultured Goat” Cheese is available at Hy-Vee and Everybody’s in Fairfield and is served at the Top of the Rock and The Crepe Escape restaurants. In Iowa City The Cultured Goat can be found at the 1st Ave, Waterfront and Coralville Hy-Vee stores as well as both New Pioneer Coops.

This farm operation is one of 6 stops on the Hometown Harvest Farm Crawl set for Sunday, September 9, from noon to 6pm. The public is welcome to tour any of these farms in any order on that day. Maps of the whole route are available at each farm, and at the Fairfield HyVee & Everybody’s Grocery. For more information, please call the Hometown Harvest office at 641-472-6177.