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state mother of the year

Meet Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, 2023 Iowa Mother of the Year®

February 16, 2023


Ellen Walsh-Rosmann was born and raised in a driftless hollow in northeast Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and farms with her husband, Daniel, and his family in Harlan. Ellen and Daniel are the proud parents of two children, Xavier (10) and Geneva (6). Ellen also owns and operates a local food hub called FarmTable Procurement and Delivery. She helps small farms all over Iowa and Eastern Nebraska aggregate and delivers their products to wholesale markets. Ellen and Daniel also own Milk and Honey, a farm-to-table restaurant in Harlan that serves meat and eggs from their farm as well as area producers’ vegetables and dairy. She is passionate about the food system, revitalizing rural America, and food justice work. She is currently getting her Master’s in Public Health from George Washington University in Washington D.C., and in addition to owning two businesses, works full time as a food broker working with K12 Schools.

Who has been impactful in your journey as a mother?

My grandma, Alma, raised 10 children on the family dairy farm. Her entire life was around her children, and grandchildren, feeding and clothing her community. I was lucky enough to live right next door to her. Many of my childhood memories are with her in the garden, kitchen, or in the sewing room. I learned hard work, perseverance, and humility. I only knew her for 12 years of my life but I saw how rewarding it is to take care of those most vulnerable and how the work may not be easy, but it is always the right thing to do.

What continues to inspire you in your motherhood journey?

My children find joy in the little things. They inspire me to live a simple life with fresh eyes. The simplicity of their life is something I yearn for. Sometimes lessons are also simple but at the same time complex and hard. I continue to look at all things through the lens of my children, with joy and childlike wonder. Life is too short and I try to live each day with awe and wonder, whether this is with picking flowers, mud puddles, shadows on a wall, or a warm strawberry.

How has being a mom shaped your life?

I’ve learned about setting priorities when it comes to my businesses and our family life. Motherhood is about balance. I’ve learned how to set boundaries and make it all come together so that everyone is happy. The moment I walk in the door from work, I’m “mom.” All attention is on my kids’ needs. These lessons have managed my time so I can devote my non-work time to my children. This has created the value of time in our house. We recognize how important and precious family time is.

Share one of your favorite stories from motherhood.

On our farm, we frequently experience new life. Each spring, we receive a batch of chicks. My children spend lots of time admiring and befriending them. One year, we received one that was a different color. This chick was quickly named and became the topic of the dinner table. One day, we discovered that the chick died. The kids were upset. We had a sweet and simple burial in the flower bed. We talked about how the chick will help the flowers grow and when we see the blooms we’ll think of the short days we had with her.