The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 9, 2013

The scoop on downtown

OTTUMWA — Whether they were there for the soup, or there to get the scoop, visitors to a Main Street Ottumwa function Tuesday should have been satisfied.

The event, said board member Brenda Case, is called “Soup and the Scoop” because in addition to something to eat, participants would learn something new about the progress of downtown projects. In fact, more than 50 attendees had gathered at one recent renovation — the KMGO studios on Main Street hosted the event.

The biggest project being discussed is across the street from the radio station: Market on Main, which Main Street Ottumwa director Dianne Haas described as taking a vacant building downtown and turning it into a year-round facility “where ideas grow.”

The building will house a year-round farmers’ market, local small business entrepreneurs and an education component, including a teaching kitchen.

Chef Gordon Rader said such a facility could draw people to Ottumwa. And though the project has been under discussion for years, it’s actually taking shape, he said.

Haas confirmed that not only have organizers developed partnerships and raised nearly a million dollars for the project, they’ve already hired an architect and worked through some initial floor plan ideas.

The goal, she told the crowd, is to have the place running by April 2014. The other goal is to focus on local products.

When the food is shipped in from some unknown location, “there is no connection to the food,” said Marsha Laux, an Iowa State University Extension value-added ag specialist.

Buying from neighbors year-round makes sense on a number of levels, Laux added.

It hasn’t spent days traveling by truck. Shoppers are more likely to have confidence in the safety of the food. And residents will be spending money in their own community.

“Why are you buying [fruits and vegetables] from another country? Why are you supporting their economy?” she asked.

Besides, said Rader, chair of the culinary arts department at Indian Hills Community College, buying fresh from local producers is becoming a trend around the country.

“We have forgotten where our food comes from,” he said. “We need to stimulate the local economy with what we do best, which is agriculture.”

Haas said one important aspect of bringing in shoppers will be to educate consumers. It’s not outrageously expensive to buy fresh, she said, and it’s not so time consuming to prepare fresh food that home cooks won’t be able to do it. Market on Main can help them learn that.

Rader agreed and added he doesn’t believe that no one has time to cook anymore. People are happier when they use some of their time making really good food, starting with fresh, local products that aren’t processed at a factory.

When he goes to Chicago, chefs talk about the great produce from Iowa. Iowans may not even be aware of some of the great products produced in the southeast corner of the state.

Eating fresh food produced locally could lead to residents being healthier, too, said Rader. Real food that hasn’t been processed to a state of blandness is actually becoming hard to find in our busy society, he said.

“Part of this [effort] is about ... re-establishing a culture of cooking in this country,” he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Byway color photo -L -T -M Bike the Byway coming to southeast Iowa

    OTTUMWA — The first Bike the Byway ride will feature communities along the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and make for a fun day of bike riding. Scheduled for June 21, the ride will begin in Ottumwa and take cyclists through Blakesburg, Unionville, Drak

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Tupper cover bw -L -T -M The 24-hour news cycle OTTUMWA — It's a story of political campaigning, dark secrets and the painful glare of the national spotlight — and Ottumwa plays a cameo role. In J. Mark Powell's new novel "Tell It Like Tupper," several southern Iowa towns provide much of the story

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0423 OTT Reminisce color photo -L -T -M 'On the Riverfront' draws a crowd OTTUMWA — The Des Moines River has been the defining feature of Ottumwa since its early days, and the crowd who attended Tuesday's Reminisce Society presentation proves it's still an immensely popular topic. The Ottumwa Public Library's meeting room

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT artist rendering color -L -T -M New look for Jefferson Street parking lot OTTUMWA — More improvements are on their way to downtown Ottumwa. During a special meeting of the Ottumwa City Council Monday night, council members approved a memorandum of understanding with the Legacy Foundation to improve the parking lot south of

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Happier students, higher scores OTTUMWA — It's nearly a cliche in the business world: "Happy workers are productive workers." Schools are testing whether "Happier students are higher achieving students." "That sense of belonging [drives people] to achievement," said Davis Eidahl, s

    April 21, 2014

  • Legacy Foundation announces $150,000 in grant awards OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has announced the names of its newest Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund partners as 14 grants were recently awarded to local nonprofit organizations totaling $150,000. “We received $350,000 in fun

    April 21, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition