LaVon Griffieon was raised on an 80-acre farm near Spirit Lake, in NW Iowa. She and her husband, Craig, farm 1120 acres north of Ankeny. They have a cow/calf herd, a feeder beef operation and raise soybeans, corn, oats, and alfalfa. They also raise and direct market antibiotic-free, no-hormone-added beef, pork, pastured poultry (chicken and turkey) and eggs. Their children are the fifth generation of Craig’s family to live in their farm home.
LaVon is a certified dental assistant and worked as the Assistant Coordinator of Broadlawns Dental Clinic from 1976 until 1982. She owned and operated a ceramic shop from 1982 until 1990. She is active with rural education for urban youth and adults, and worked as an Ag-In-The-Classroom project volunteer from 1987 until 2002. She is a 4-H leader, and has served as an assistant soil commissioner in Polk County. She co-founded and has been instrumental in the formation of 1000 Friends of Iowa, the only nonprofit in Iowa that deals solely with land use issues. She was presented the Iowa Farm-City Award in 1993, and in 1995 was runner-up for the Farm Journal Spokesperson of the Year Award. In 2000, she received the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s Hagie Heritage Award, the Daughters of the American Revolution Conservation Award, and she and her husband were presented the Wallace’s Farmer Master Farmer Award. LaVon completed a two-year Food and Society Policy Fellowship sponsored the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in 2004, which allowed her to travel to Holland, France, Belguim and Cuba to study sustainable agriculture. She accompanied the 2007 and 2009 Drake MPA graduate class as a Community Resource Specialist to nine European countries on a Sustainable Community Study and Tour. The Griffieons have recently been involved in an audio documentary project, Five Farms, featuring five farms across the U.S. telling where America’s food comes from. Clips from the Griffieon family have been on NPR’s All Things Considered six times over the past year explaining seasonally what is happening on the farm and with the family. The Five Farms broadcast has been broadcast across the U.S. and on the BBC.
LaVon’s Key issues include addressing rural-urban fringe issues, agriculture and the environment, the co-existence of industrial, conventional and sustainable agriculture, creating community food systems, revitalizing rural main streets and urban centers while saving the infrastructure that is currently in place, enhancing Iowa’s economy through a diverse agriculture which is economically viable, environmentally sound, socially responsible and health promoting, and strengthening Iowa communities while making rural Iowa a worthy destination for young families.