Year-end review, and our 2021 plans

Dear Friends,

Check out this week’s Fallon Forum, where we talk with Georgia State Senator-elect Kim Jackson about the critical US Senate election next month. (See below for further details about this week’s program.)

Georgia State Senator-elect Kim Jackson

I don’t ask for financial support often, so please consider this timely request:


This is a challenging and exciting initiative between the Fallon Forum and Bold Iowa, one that could help heal Iowa’s partisan divide and identify common ground on key concerns — especially climate change.
Every week in 2021, I’ll sit down for an hour-long conversation with an Iowan who voted for Donald Trump. I’ll publish a summary of each conversation in my blog and interview voters on The Fallon Forum.

I reject the rhetoric that most Trump voters are racists, misogynists, and “deplorable” — as Hillary Clinton referred to half of Trump’s supporters in 2016. That’s not helpful.

I know from personal experience that good people, for various reasons, voted for Trump. We need to understand why and work to identify shared challenges. Beyond that, if the Democratic Party has any hope of regaining relevance in rural America, it has to begin with listening, not lecturing.


SEND A CHECK TO: Bold Iowa, 735 19th Street, Des Moines, IA 50314. (Donations to Bold Iowa are not tax deductible. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation, give me a call at 515-238-6404.)

Thank you, and please check out our year-end-review (below). We’re doing a lot, and couldn’t do it without you!

Ed Fallon


Our work falls under four entities. Here’s a brief summary of what each has done in 2020 and where we’re going in 2021. Compared with the intense Caucus work of 2019, our squad is currently a lot smaller: Kathy Byrnes, Shari Hrdina, Forrest Determann, Charles Goldman, and me. We’re now doing this work as volunteers, and have accomplished much on a tighter-than-usual budget.


Under the program’s new tagline – A progressive voice from the Heartland – The Fallon Forum has seen increased interest across the country, with more coastal residents understanding the importance of including perspectives from “flyover country.”

Having some fun with that, Forrest, Kathy, and I took a shot at an American Gothic angle. If people are serious about a groundhog’s opinion on the weather, surely they’ll appreciate a hen’s take on climate change.

In January, Kathy and I moved the studio to our home in the Sherman Hill neighborhood of Des Moines. This involved no small amount of effort, with Kathy shouldering the design, lighting, and sound work. The move has saved money and also improved the program’s overall quality.

Charles continues to join me on the air twice a month, and it’s always interesting when we disagree. We’ve also added a regular feature on sustainable food production and urban farming, which Kathy coordinates.

Shari manages the post-production work which, between technical challenges and content decisions, gets pretty involved.

Forrest’s technical support for the Forum and our nonprofits keeps everything running smoothly and mostly glitch-free.

We are most grateful to our monthly sustainers and to the local businesses who’ve supported the program this year: Gateway Market and CafeNoce Jazz & Cabaret, Story County Veterinary Clinic, Architecture By Synthesis, Hoq Restaurant, and Ritual Cafe. Please patronize them, and thank them for supporting progressive talk radio.


Leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, more than 200 Bold Iowa volunteers “bird-dogged” presidential candidates, urging them to make climate their number-one priority. And the candidates listened! We saw marked increases in most candidates’ commitment to address climate and go on record with specific actions they’d take if elected.

When we were unable to stop the Iowa Utilities Board from allowing Energy Transfer to double the flow of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Bold worked with our Illinois neighbors engaged in the same fight. The Illinois Commerce Committee recently agreed to allow DAPL’s expansion, but construction has not yet begun in Iowa.

We now shift our focus to president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris, who both stated their opposition to doubling the flow of oil through DAPL. We’ll remind them of that promise and hold them accountable. As needed, we’ll also lobby our federal and state lawmakers to support strong policy responses to the climate crisis.

In addition, Bold Iowa is collaborating with The Fallon Forum on Fifty-Two Conversations With Iowa Trump Voters.


We continue to spread the word about the good work participants in the 2014 Great March for Climate Action are doing across the country.  We’re excited that Hannah Bacon, an activist from Connecticut, is presently marching coast-to-coast for climate action, and we’re using our resources to get the word out about Hannah’s march.

Earlier this year, Climate March helped lead the Climate Crisis Parade, attended by more than 1,000 people, endorsed by 70 organizations, and covered by prominent national and international media outlets.

As COVID-19 comes to an end (soon, we hope), Climate March will resume organizing speaking tours to discuss the 2014 March and my book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim. After the 2019 speaking tour that took Kathy and me to eight states, we heard numerous positive stories about people inspired to deepen their commitment to addressing the climate crisis. 


In 2020, eight people participated in our nine-month class to learn how to turn their yards into dinner. Kathy has updated the list of class offerings for 2021 and added workshops on specific topics, including starting heirloom seeds, making compost, building a cold frame, and baking pies.

Dozens of people toured our urban farm this year. As word gets out, we expect that number to grow. In November, a young Burlington, Iowa, couple visited to get inspiration for an urban farm they hope to start in their city.

We’re also working with the Des Moines City Council to create a Food Security Task Force. As the impacts of climate change worsen, local food production will be essential. We’d like to see Des Moines become a model for how individuals, businesses, farmers, and institutions can work with local governments to establish a local foods network that is practical, productive, profitable, and sustainable.



(02:02) Climate Update: Victory in the Arctic;
(13:56) Georgia US Senate election, with State Senator-elect Kim Jackson;
(26:57) DNC bears brunt of blame for Iowa Caucus debacle, with Charles Goldman;
(39:40) Renewable energy not all roses, with Charles Goldman;
(51:51) Get ready to start seeds, with Kathy Byrnes, Birds & Bees Urban Farm.

Watch our conversation with Kathy Byrnes on The Fallon Forum Facebook Page.

Please support the local businesses and non-profits who make this program possible. Click on their logos elsewhere and visit Story County Veterinary ClinicBold Iowa, and Birds & Bees Urban Farm.

Subscribe to the Fallon Forum on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts. Check out our website and Facebook Page, and listen to the program on these and other local affiliates:

– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, Iowa)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, Iowa)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, Louisiana)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, Missouri)
– KCEI 90.1 FM (Taos, New Mexico)
— KRFP 90.3 FM (Moscow, Idaho)

Thanks for supporting the progressive alternative to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity!

Ed Fallon