Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#14 Michelle Lynn of Savvy History


Michelle, of Savvy History, or Michelle Lynn as many of us have known her over the past several years is a writer, musician, educator, presenter, and one of the main influences of how “Rhymes With Decorah” got started! It’s true – but you’ll have to listen to this show to hear that story!

Michelle grew up on a century farm here in NE Iowa, found her way musically to the guitar, and started writing songs as a teenager. That love of music found her playing across the region as a young musician, and eventually moving to Austin, TX before returning to NE Iowa and meeting her future husband. Five albums later, and a lot of life experience, Michelle realized her passions could also help shape the lives of young people as an educator, while pursuing her writing, and growing a family! These opportunities have lead to opportunities in online teaching and mentoring young people across the country, all from her home here in Decorah.

Savvy History is the creation that has housed much of Michelle’s melding of old and new work in writing. A lifelong interest in biographies helped spur some of the concepts of Savvy History, along with her studies in Creative Psychology, history, and a love of telling those stories through writing and music.

One of the series that Michelle worked on through her blog was the “First Creative Dollar”, profiling figures from Frederick Douglas and Louisa May Alcott, to Rachel Carson, and the cult fan favorite painter Bob Ross (their stories are all fantastic!).


Along the way she quit Social Media entirely for 6 years – and eventually found her way back on her terms. You can hear that story on the show, and also read about it on the Savvy History Blog.

We’d like to thank Michelle for not only being a guest on the show, but for also planting the seed that this show should be a reality – a true example of the power of people talking and sharing ideas in a small community.

Find our more about Michelle and her work:




*You can catch Michelle live on Thursday July 7th (2022) as part of Decorah’s Lawn Chair Night – Live on Washington Street series – 5:30pm, Washington Street, just outside of Impact Coffee.


“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 @indicative_of_drumming


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#13 Adam Wiltgen – Arts in Community / Anderson Center


Adam Wiltgen is a Harmony, MN native who’s work in connecting communities through the arts spans our greater region. Currently, Adam and his family live in Red Wing (MN) where he is the Program Director at the Anderson Center at Tower View, and also a member of the City of Red Wing’s Arts & Culture Commission.

One of the things that we’ve learned in creating a regional publication for almost 15 years, is that it takes a lot of actual hard work and creativity to make rural places shine. Artistic endeavors and fostering creative community are often at the heart of what makes an authentic feeling community, and Adam’s work across our region in the past decade has absolutely been in helping places weave that creative fabric.

Join us as we talk about some of the projects that Adam has been involved in over the years – from the transitional days of KPVL Radio, to guiding the programming and being part of the creative team at Lanesboro Arts that continued the work of making this SE Minnesota gem not just a tourist destination, but a living arts “campus”. Through his work, Adam has also had the opportunity to be a part of larger national and international conversations that showcase the importance of the arts in communities.


In his roll at the Anderson Center at Tower View in Red Wing, Adam is also a key team member in not only helping events and programming happen at and around the historic campus, but also fostering the Center’s artists-in-residence program.

The Anderson Center serves creative people of all kinds – writers, poets, visual artists, sculptors, composers, dancers, archaeologists, anthropologists, scholars, and others. The interdisciplinary nature of the Center inspires creative dialogue among the disciplines and places the Center at the forefront of thoughtful exchange.

Since 2014, the historic venue has also been home to the Deaf Artist Residency Program at the Anderson Center – helping create artistic and organizational networks that support the development of the Deaf Arts as a distinct cultural area within the larger context of American Culture. Founded by local Deaf Artist and activist Cynthia Weitzel, the program has grown since its inception in 2014. With the addition of the 2022 cohort, the Deaf Artist Residency Program has connected and supported 28 artists. The Deaf Artists Residency Program is supported in part through an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and partnerships with Gallaudet University and Deaf Spotlight.



In addition to 20 on-site artist studios, the Center offers a black-and-white equipped dark room, an outdoor kiln, glass blowing studio, blacksmith shop, printmaking facilities, and a press-in-residence.



The Red Wing Area Studio Tour will take place July 30-31, 2022. See the work of 36 Artists across 12 locations around the Red Wing area while exploring all that the historic town offers. The tour is a collaborative effort of Red Wing Arts and the Anderson Center, with a community reception on Saturday evening, July 30 from 6-8 pm with live music and refreshments on the Anderson Center’s recently renovated Rooftop Deck.

We graciously thank Adam for taking the time to talk with us for this show, and for the work that he and many others do to support the arts across the many communities of our region.





“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 @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#12 Summer Inspire(d) 2022 – Aryn Henning Nichols


The “Summer 2022” issue of Inspire(d) Magazine “With Intention…” is on stands now and special guest, and editor-in-chief Aryn Henning Nichols joins us to talk all things Inspire(d)! We look forward to making these quarterly (or more often!?) chats about the new print issues of the magazine and all that goes into creating each issue. 


Topics that we cover:

– Dad Jokes

– Summer!

– The beautiful cover image and feature on artist Lauren Bonney

– Community Builders: Maryann Baldwin, Stephanie Fromm, and Terri Wolfram (aka The Paperback Rider!)

– Linda Tacke’s recumbent bike ride across America

– Sum of Your Biz feature: Country View Dairy

– Starlite 14 Drive In – Richland Center

– Dyersville Daytrip!

– Fireflies!!!

– Probituary: Viola Linderbaum


You can read the Summer 2022 Issue of Inspire(d) online here.



Big shout out to the USPS in Decorah who helps us reach some of our far away distribution locations across the region! 


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#11 Humble Hands Harvest / Queer Farmer Network – Hannah Breckbill


Humble Hands Harvest is a worker-owned co-operative farm located just outside of Decorah (Iowa). Founded in 2013, Humble Hands grows 2+ acres of organic vegetables, in addition to grass-finished sheep, pastured pork, and fruit and nut trees, all distributed through annual CSA (community supported ag shares) as well as at the Decorah Farmers Market. Today’s guest Hannah Breckbill, along with farm partner Emily Fagan, found the farm’s long-term home in 2017 just 10 miles from Decorah, on ancestral lands tracing back to Sauk, Meskwaki, Lakota, and Ho-chunk tribes, and began functioning as a worker-owned co-operative that same year.


While Humble Hands main work has been responsible food farming, it just so happens that they are also helping grow a revolution in agriculture, connection communities from across the country with the Queer Farmer Network and Queer Farmer Convergence. Hannah talks on this episode about the need to find people should could relate to, leading her to starting the instagram account @queerdirt – which lead to an annual gathering on the farm in Iowa each fall, with an inclusive focus for QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) to help share vision and stories of diversity in farming.


Humble Hands Harvest has been featured for this work in many ways, including an April 2021 feature in YES! Magazine, being awarded the MOSES (now Marbleseed) 2021 Changemaker Award for building Queer Farmer community and her advocacy for beginning farmers’ land access, being featured on MN Public Radio’s “Flyover 2020” series, and more.

Support Humble Hands Harvest by shopping their incredible vegetables at the Decorah Farmers Market, on the Iowa Food Hub, or by donating at their website.






🌈 Venmo: @queerfarmerlove


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 @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#10 Iowa Food Hub – Peter Kraus


Local food can mean a lot of different things to different people – from picking a garden fresh herb or tomato, to creating a full on farm creamery to produce world-class yogurt. And while most grocery lists are purchased at a well lit, climate controlled store, connecting a regional market for locally grown foods can be a bit more complicated. The Iowa Food Hub, created in 2012, works to connect those dots between local producers – and consumers! Join us on this show as we talk with Peter Kraus, General Manger of the Iowa Food Hub.


From IowaFoodHub.com, “The Iowa Food Hub (IFH) is an innovative business working to connect farmers, families, and food grown close to home. IFH manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”


Some of those connections and services look like connecting food producers with Farm to School markets, developing new markets for institutions and retail stores, and also handling direct to consumer sales. The Iowa Food Hub offers an online market, where you can go online Monday through Wednesday to shop the week’s offerings, place an order, and pick it up on Friday’s in Decorah. (There are other regional options too – Check it all out here!)


We love supporting our incredible local producers, and the Iowa Food Hub has become one of the crucial pieces of infrastructure in making sure that those food growers can get their products to users efficiently – and while their products are at peak freshness.




“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 @indicative_of_drumming


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#01 – Aryn Henning Nichols, Inspire(d) Media

Show Number One!


Welcome to Rhymes With Decorah, a project of Inspire(d) Media and companion to Inspire(d) Magazine. We’ll be using this platform to feature the positive stories of our region, explore big challenges from across the upper midwest, and talk with folks who are working to make their communities stronger. Stories about communities you Love – By people you trust = Rhymes with Decorah.

There didn’t seem to be a better way to kick off the podcast party than with a fun conversation between Benji (that’s me!) and Founder + Editor-in-Chief of Inspire(d), Aryn Henning Nichols. We’ll be jumping on the podcast periodically, when a new issue of the magazine comes out, or when we have something exciting to talk about. In this episode, Aryn takes us back to the early days of Inspire(d), catches up on the amazing Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses program that she Off-fishally(!) just completed, and more. 

30 minutes to make your day more fun – thanks for listening, and a huge thanks to Aryn for being Guest #1. Also a huge thanks to drummer and Decorah’n Mr. Nick Zielinski for the amazing music and beats heard on this podcast. Find Nick on Instagram at @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#02 Stephanie Fromm, WCDI (Winneshiek County Development Inc.)

One of our goals of “Rhymes With Decorah” is to highlight people and organizations in our region that are tackling the challenges of our times. When we talk with folks on a state level, the same challenges come up – housing, jobs, workforce, broadband, education – and child care.


Stephanie Fromm is a Decorah “boomerang” who returned to Winneshiek County in 2015 to become the Executive Director of Winneshiek County Development and Tourism, or as many know it (WCDI Winneshiek County Development Inc.)

One of the first challenges that she and her Husband (and Decorah teacher, Zach Fromm) realized was that of an acute shortage of Child Care in Winneshiek County. As part of our interview with Stephanie, you can hear how her first hand experiences helped shape one of WCDI’s major economic development initiatives – the Sunflower Child Development and Discovery Center.


This new facility is in final planning and fundraising stages (as of June 2022) with real estate and bidding processes in place. Once completed, the project will offer up “state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor child development and play areas that encourage learning through high quality care, creative design, shared services, and innovative STEAM learning spaces.” Pledge a donation to the Decorah Discovery Center to the project, or check out a fantastic video about this project.

Child Care isn’t the only thing that Stephanie and WCDI do though (far from it!). Hear all about what WCDI does and why economic development matters for Winneshiek County and NE Iowa, and how she was appointed to the Governor’s Growing Iowa Task Force in 2021!

Many thanks to Stephanie for being on RWD, and for all of her work, as well as the work of many partners and board members that help make NE Iowa the amazing place it is.


“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 @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#03 Decorah Public Library Crew Summer 2022!

DPL_LOGO.jpgIf there is an entity (or entities) in our region that Aryn and I both get truly excited about, it would be LIBRARIES! Yes – we are that geeky! It might seem obvious that public libraries are incredible resources – windows to the world, amongst other things, that serve every sector and demographic of a region. But libraries provide so much more than books and reading material. Who better than to talk libraries with than our friendly, local Decorah Public Library staff!? 




Join us as we catch up with three of the Decorah Public LIbrary staff, talk about the summer ahead, the challenges of recent years, all of the fantastic amenities of the DPL, and how to support the library!

Rhymes With Decorah #03

On this episode:

Kristen Torresdal, DPL Library Director

Rachael Button, DPL Children’s & Young Adult Librarian

Zach Row-Heyveld, DPL Administrative Coordinator



Rhymes With Decorah is a companion podcast project of Inspire(d) Media. Find our quarterly magazine on stands across the Driftless Region or visit us at: https://www.iloveinspired.com/

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#04 Driftless Yoga Festival – Laree Schouweiler


Diversity, rural Iowa, and yoga are words that are sometimes not thought of in the same sentence. But we’re here to share a story that doesn’t just dabble into diversity, but an event that has been honored as the 2022 winner of the Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The Driftless Yoga Festival!


We remember the moment well from almost a decade ago – hearing about someone that was opening a spinning and yoga studio here in Decorah, and being so excited to have this option landing here in our small town. Laree Schouweiler (she/her), was the founder of ReeFuel in 2013, steadily growing a crew of teachers and a studio following. But it was the studio setting that taught Laree just what the inequalities of the modern yoga world are – and she wanted to find another path. This led to the first Driftless Yoga Festival in the summer of 2019 in Decorah. 

Three babies, a studio, and a pandemic later, it was a trip to Asheville to participate in Michelle Cassandra Johnson’s (she/her) Skill in Action Training that has led to the latest version of the Driftless Yoga Festival. (Read the whole story here!)

This year’s Fest will be June 23-26, 2022 at Will Baker Park in Decorah. Everyone is welcome to explore immersions, yoga classes, and workshops centered on yoga, equity, and nature – all in a beautiful setting. Passes are available on a sliding scale system with a limited amount of scholarships available. Find all of the info online at: www.driftlessyogafestival.com


Rhymes With Decorah is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media, hosted by Benji Nichols. Find out more at www.iloveinspired.com


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