Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Mike Bollinger – SSE Executive Director


Mike Bollinger and Katie Prochaska have an incredible story of connection to Decorah, Luther College, and the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE). As Mike settles into his roll as Executive Director of SSE, the almost 50 year-old organization looks to set its course well into the future of sharing heirloom seeds with all.


From the SSE Website:

“In the last century or so, the world has lost 75% of its edible plant varieties. That might be hard to perceive when many of us have enough food on our plates, but consider this: According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, only five cereal grains make up 60% of our calories. A system that depends so heavily on so few crops is quite fragile.”


From growing up in South Dakota, to meeting his future wife (Katie) at Luther College, adventures in West Africa through the Peace Corps, and finding their way back to Decorah (and SSE – more than once!), Mike’s authentic connections and genuine care for “hands in the dirt” agriculture are the real deal. He and Katie still own River Root Farm, which they created to grow quality vegetables and food in our region, and was also key to helping grow SSE’s national plant sales business.


Seed Savers Exchange stewards Americaʼs culturally diverse and endangered garden and food crop legacy for present and future generations. We educate and connect people through collecting, regenerating, and sharing heirloom seeds, plants, and stories.


As co-founder of an agricultural solutions company, Mike has also provided support to SSE on greenhouse design and organic production practices. Mike not only has a practical understanding of organic and sustainable growing practices, but he has also dedicated years of service as an active member on the board of directors for organizations focusing on farmer education services and local and regional food systems. We are so appreciative that Mike took time to tell us his story on this episode.


Seed Savers Exchange was founded in Missouri in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy, with seeds brought by Grandpa Ott’s parents from Bavaria when they immigrated to Iowa in 1884. Diane and Kent went on to form a network of gardeners interested in preserving heirloom varieties and sharing seeds. Today, with 13,000 members and 20,000 plant varieties, Seed Savers Exchange makes its home on 890 scenic acres in Winneshiek County, Iowa, at Heritage Farm.

Learn More about the Seed Savers Exchange here, including the return of SSE’s annual summer events, special offerings, and more.


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming



Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With Decorah – Cindy Goodner


Cindy Goodner
Development Director – Seed Savers Exchange
VP of the Decorah School Board

On today’s show we talk with Cindy Goodner, Development Director for Seed Savers Exchange, and Vice President of the Decorah Community School District Board. Cindy is a nonprofit fundraising professional and holds a passion for helping people find joy in their philanthropic support. Raised on a 4-generation family farm in the Decorah area and often assisting both her mother and grandmother in the garden, she feels a close connection with the land and historic varieties at Seed Savers Exchange. She joined the development and membership team at Seed Savers Exchange in 2014.


Cindy’s early professional and volunteer experiences led to her current positions via multiple board and fundraising experiences. Her husband followed professional opportunities back to NE Iowa, where Cindy found her calling at Seed Savers – having served 8+ years for the incredible nonprofit, and continuing to further the work of Seed Savers missions.

Join us as we talk about philanthropy, why anyone should run for public offices and boards, and the perfect Saturday in the Driftless!


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Spring 2023 – Aryn Henning Nichols!


Welcome to Spring 2023! 

The “Spring 2023” Issue of Inspire(d) is out on stands (and online) now! The amazing Aryn Henning Nichols and I always enjoy running down the new issues, kibitzing in general, and laughing about whatever we can (because, gee-gosh-golly we could all use a good laugh.) 


Our featured theme of “You Are Here” ties in nicely to cover artist, and MIBA Independent Book Store Map creator Kevin Cannon’s artwork and our feature story on all things Independent Book Sellers (have we mentioned we LOVE book stores?!) 


The stoke is real for spring around HQ – read Aryn’s entire editors letter by clicking here, and thanks for listening to the show! If you have ideas for other folks you’d like to hear on “Rhymes With…” feel free to drop Benji a message here. 


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Mediation / Molly Gallager


Many in the region know Molly Gallagher from her decade+ of teaching Iyengar Yoga (CIYT) in Decorah. But many may not know that Molly is a certified mediator – someone that, as a neutral third party, helps facilitate conversations to help find meaningful agreements. From court appointed cases, to intergenerational discussions, find out more about what this means on today’s show!


The Mediator’s role, as a neutral third party, is to help support each person throughout their conversation during mediation, and allow individuals more control over the outcome of their decisions, and can help to save money in legal fees. Mediation is an opportunity for an enhanced conversation about issues that clients want or need to discuss. The process of mediation can help clients gain clarity about themselves, their situation, and each other. It may also allow them an opportunity to arrive at a mutually agreed upon decision.


Molly mediates in the following areas: divorce, family, parenting disputes, business disputes, workplace conflict, real estate affairs, farm succession planning, and more.


Mediation is completely confidential, can save time and money, and fosters lasting and meaningful agreements. Let go of the stress and anxiety of seeing a person you’re in conflict with, or the potential of a lawsuit, so you can move on with your life

Contact Molly at: 319-270-4592


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Root River Rod Co.

(This is the third show in a short series focused around Eagle Bluff and Fillmore County in SE Minnesota. To hear about Eagle Bluff Outdoor Environmental Learning Center Click Here. To hear our show about the MN Driftless Hiking Trail project Click Here. Thanks for listening!)


On this episode of “Rhymes With…” we feature Alayna Sobieniak and Lance Prado – owners and operators of the Root River Rod Company in Lanesboro, MN. (Alayna also works at Eagle Bluff in their outdoor pre-school program!). 


The story of the Root River Rod Co starts where any good fly shop starts – with the founder and past owner Steve Sobieniak (Alayna’s Dad). We tell Steve’s story on this show, partly as a memorial to a really kind and fun fisherman and a world class split bamboo rod builder. An aggressive form of cancer took Steve to the great streams of the beyond in September of 2022, but his family is carrying on his legacy. 


Alayna, Lance, and baby Finn (held in the pic above by Adelyn) joined us to record this show on site at Eagle Bluff in the late winter of 2023. Their young family is continuing on the legacy and community that Steve built through Root River Rod Co by continuing to offer a fantastic selection of fly fishing gear, tying supplies, guiding and float services, and bamboo rod specialties. 


Find them on Parkway Avenue North in downtown Lanesboro – just across from Pedal Pushers and the High Court Pub – and tell them we sent you!

Root River Rod Co – https://rootriverrodco.com/

Facebook / Instagram

RRRCo also has a great YouTube Channel – check it out here!



“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Driftless Hiking Trail!


The Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail is a concept for a 100 mile foot path running through the incredible scenery of SE Minnesota from Chatfield, MN to the Mississippi River. “Chief Instigator” of this project, Marty Walsh, joins us for a conversation about the vision and history of the project, and where things are headed (currently in the spring of 2023). 


A group of volunteers are currently working with state, county, and private landowners to acquire access to properties that will allow the through-hiking style trail to traverse the hills and valleys of the region for human powered users. The backcountry style hiking trail is inspired by the Appalachian Tail, Superior Hiking Trail, Ice Age Trail, and others, providing opportunities to share the region at a human scale with all.


Find out more about the project on this show, and how to get involved or donate by visiting https://www.mndriftlesshikingtrail.org

Find the project on social media:

Facebook /  Instagram / Twitter


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Eagle Bluff! | Rhymes With Decorah


Eagle Bluff is an environmental learning center, serving people of all ages, just outside of Lanesboro, MN. Join us for a conversation with Executive Director Colleen Foehrenbacher to learn all about how this amazing place came about (decades ago – shiitake mushrooms! Haha!), and all that is does to serve youth to seniors in our region. 

Eagle Bluff operates with the guiding principle of “Connecting People to nature through education & transformative outdoor experiences” – and we love that! From educational field trips and overnight school camps, to summer (and Winter!) camps and programs for students AND families – this amazing center helps put people in the outdoors.

Founded in 1978, Eagle Bluff is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As a year-round environmental learning center, they provide accredited education programs & outdoor adventures to over 16,000 children, adults, and families each year.

Through hands-on learning in nature, Eagle Bluff aims to give people experiences that inspire them to become lifelong stewards of the environment by:
– Fostering a sense of respect, stewardship and community
– Imparting life skills such as teamwork and problem-solving
– Increasing environmental awareness & academic literacy
– Promoting positive outdoor experiences
– Sparking curiosity and appreciation for the natural world


The Center offers beautiful, modern, indoor lodging, high ropes courses, an awesome indoor climbing wall, a full modern dining facility, and their Discovery Center space for presentations like “Dinner on the Bluff” and more.

Dinner on the Bluff is one of our favorite ways to get a “taste” of Eagle Bluff. This Winter/Spring series makes presentations by outdoor connected speakers through a dinner and presentation format that makes for a great night out! Show up early for a walk around before fellowship and beverages, enjoy a dinner, followed by a short walk down to the Discovery Center for desert and presentation.

(Check out upcoming dates still in 2023; March 25 with Doug Duren speaking about Sharing the Land, and April 22 with Bill & Mary Bailey presenting “A Farm, a Forest, a Little Blue Bird, and the Future or What Happens When a Forester Marries a Bluebirder”.)

We’re also huge fans of the “Become an Outdoor Family” camp series, open climbing dates, Halloween High Ropes offerings and more – check it all out!


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Oneota Film Festival 2023

Oneota Film Festival – March 2-5, 2023


On this episode of “Rhymes With Decorah” we welcome Oneota Film Festival Creative Director Elise Skellenger, and Board President Nancy Sojka. Join us as we talk about everything from the early inspiration of the festival (shout out Kyrl and Walter!) to special additions and regional showings for the 2023 OFF. 

OFF Creative Director Elise Skellenger


OFF Board President Nancy Sojka

Held among the spectacular rivers and bluffs of the Driftless Region in Northeast Iowa, the Oneota Film Festival brings compelling, innovative, and inspiring films and filmmakers to Decorah from around the globe. Through films that illuminate the human condition, OFF aims to engage a large and diverse audience in the critical issues of our time. 



We are so happy to have this awesome community festival continue to bring amazing film culture to NE Iowa. Find the 2023 Festival schedule, volunteer opportunities and all the Festival info at the following link. We hope you enjoy this interview – and will be inspired to help support the Oneota Film Festival!


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… Ukraine – Professor Maryna Nading


Maryna (Bazylevych) Nading has been a professor at Luther College since 2010, focusing on the topics of medical anthropology, body and health, and post-socialism. She was born in Ukraine and first visited the US while participating in English studies programs as a young adult. Those roots lead to her eventual return to the US in higher education. Maryna’s work now supports students in Anthropology studies as well as Luther College’s Global Health Major.

From growing up in urban Khmelnytskyi Ukraine (living with a great dane!) to making her way to Indiana, graduate work in upstate New York, and eventually to Luther College – Maryna’s story is rich and meaningful. Much of Maryna’s family and many friends are still living in present day Ukraine, and living through the Russian invasion and ongoing war. 

In the Spring of 2022, Maryna helped Luther College Students organize “The Ride for Ukraine” fundraiser, a 75-mile bike ride from Rochester, Minn., to Decorah. Luther Graduate (’22) Anita Tamang organized the event with the help of Luther College (’23) Souk Sengsaisouk ’23. The event raised  $7,000. for an oncology clinic where Maryna’s mother works.

(Photo courtesy of Anita Tamang and Souksakhone Sengsaisouk)
Anita Tamang (‘22, left), Professor Maryna Bazylevych Nading (middle) and
Souksakhone Sengsaisouk (‘23, right) organized a 75-mile bike ride in order to advocate for peace in the country of Ukraine.

A benefit concert was also organized in the Fall of 2022 with several Luther College Faculty and community members including Brooke Joyce, Decorah Middle School orchestra members, and more. The concert featured music about or from Ukraine, and also raised over $2,000. for another localized organization in Ukraine. 

Nading continues to speak with family and friends in Ukraine on a regular basis, and also help connect resources. Her parents both work in health care, and while her hometown has generally not yet been in the immediate high-danger areas of attacks, the influx of those fleeing the war torn regions have been very real. Shortages of many basics exist, while power and cell services are frequently lost as attacks occur in close by regions. She continues to connect with on-the-ground organizations that are supporting the Ukrainian efforts. 

Nading translated a piece from a friend that was run in the Des Moines Register in March of 2022 that gives many glimpses into the day to day life in Ukraine. 

If you would like to connect with Maryna or help by donating funds to on-the-ground, grass roots organizations, please feel free to contact her at: bazyma01@luther.edu




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