Liz Garst will discuss Khrushchev’s visit to her grandfather's farm

Khrushchev and Garsts

The Garst family welcomes Nikita Khrushchev in 1959 (Roswell Garst, center; Khrushchev, third from right; Liz Garst, front, right). Photo by Joe Munroe.

AMES, Iowa -- Liz Garst was 8 years old in 1959 when her grandfather hosted Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at his Coon Rapids farm. During a talk at Iowa State University, Garst will share how this unique visit came about and why some historians consider it to be the first thaw in the Cold War.

Garst will present "Corn and Khrushchev: A Brief History of Iowa Agriculture" at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. Her free, public talk is sponsored in part by Humanities Iowa, a private, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that offers cultural and historical programs and grants to Iowa communities.

Garst is a granddaughter of the prominent Iowa farmers and citizen diplomats Roswell and Elizabeth Garst. Her talk will include entertaining, personal stories about Khrushchev’s visit, as well as a history of agricultural development in Iowa — including the mid-century explosion of farm productivity based on the hybrid seeds and other technologies promoted by her grandfather.  

Garst manages banking and farming interests for the Garst family and is a board member and volunteer for Whiterock Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust near Coon Rapids. She is active in conservation, rural development and civil liberties organizations. Garst has degrees from Stanford University, Michigan State University and Harvard Business School.

Her talk is co-sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Humanities Iowa, Silos and Smokestacks, ISU Library Special Collections and University Archives, and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government. More information is available online at ISU Lectures Program, or by calling 515-294-9935.