Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Cool Tools

man sitting on eco-weeder tool

Machinery Sharing Manual for Fruit and Vegetable Growers

This 50-page manual looks at options for sharing farm machinery with sample agreements and worksheets, plus information from five case studies.

Delivery truck

Local Food System Toolkits and Related Publications

These publications offer guidelines for devloping successful local food systems: Developing a Worksite Food Box Program and Managing Cash Flow for a Low-Capital Food Hub Start-up offers insights from the Iowa Food Hub. Local Food Coordinators describes the important role that these people have in local food systems. The Shared-use Kitchen Planning Toolkit shows what has/has not worked in other communities. Supporting Local Food System Development in Your Community offers a seven-step planning guide.

photo of a woman farmer

A Resource Guide for Beginning Farmers

This 48‐page curriculum can be used in farmer training programs or on incubator farms. It covers production practices, post‐harvest handling and business planning, with learning objectives, hands‐on activities and links to worksheets and resources.
Iowa CSA Farms

Iowa CSA Farms

Here is the 2016 list of CSA farms and organizers serving Iowa. The directory is produced by the Leopold Center and ISU Extension and Outreach and will be updated annually. To provide additional information or updates, check out this page. News release



Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Production Budgets

These are enterprise budgets for 14 fruit and vegetable crops commonly grown in Iowa. The tool includes example worksheets (in PDF format) and spreadsheets (Excel files), both available from Ag Decision Maker. Also check Alternative Enterprise Budgets for popcorn, Christmas trees, sorghum, sweet corn, dairy goats, sheep, beekeeping and raspberry enterprises.

Transplant Production Decision Tool

This tool provides information for Upper Midwest farms about transplant production options when scaling up to meet increasing demand for local and organic produce. It includes profiles of several small- and large-scale growers. News release  Project description

Cover Crops

Cover Crop Decision Tool

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) developed this tool to help farmers make decisions about cover crops at the county level. The website has links to instructions for both field crops and vegetables. News release. More resources on our cover crop working group page

Image of food items next to cash register

Iowa Food Marketing Regulations: A Guide for Small-Scale Producers

This guide offers an overview of the various licenses required for selling local foods in Iowa (fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, honey and dairy) and directs readers to the appropriate agency for answering specific questions. Read the news release


High Tunnel Resources

Leopold Center projects have supported the Iowa High Tunnel Fruit and Vegetable Manual, Rainwater Catchment from a High Tunnel for Irrigation Use, Vegetable Production Budgets for a High Tunnel, and the Tunnels to Tables reports listed on the Marketing Resources webpage.


Grower's Manual: A Template for Grower Cooperatives

This 24-page manual, adapted from GROWN Locally, helps local food cooperatives improve their handling practices and meet food safety standards. Read the news release.

Learning About Local at ISU

Learning about Local at ISU

Directory of ISU organizations, programs, services and courses about local foods. Read the news release about this resource.

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Learning about Local

Directory of Iowa groups involved in local foods. Read the news release about this resource.


Two Vegetable Wash Station Designs

These detailed instructions and illustrations will help fruit and vegetable growers build low-cost and efficient wash stations. This tool was developed by the Fruit and Vegetable Working Group. Read the news release.


Post-Harvest Handling Decision Tool

This online tool describes handling systems for different groups of crops and general considerations for designing your own post-harvest handling system. This tool was developed by the Fruit and Vegetable Working Group. Read the news release.  Information from this tool has been adapted to a 24-page publication.

fruits and vegetables

Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Market Planner

This tool shows rates of demand for 80 crops, with settings for regions in/around Iowa, consumers by age group, various time frames and product mixes. Download the User's Guide. Read the news release. Sources of data


U.S. Food Market Estimator

This tool can approximate markets for more than 200 different food products in every county and state in the United States. Download the Users Guide. Read the news release.


Produce Profitability Calculator

This tool shows crop-by-crop comparisons of profitability for various food crops. Download the Users Manual, or read this related publication: Contracting with Foodservices. Read the news release.

grower at farmers market

FAQ on Food Regulations for Small Market Producers

Responses from state agency and university experts on food safety and food regulations. Read the news release.

wind turbine

Climate Change Glossary

Terms used in discussions of climate change and agriculture. Read the news release.


Visit Iowa Farms

This website lists farms that offer you-pick operations, maizes and other agritourism services. The program was developed by the Iowa Agritourism Working Group led by ISU Value Added Agriculture Extension.


Iowa MarketMaker

This is an interactive website to locate businesses and markets in Iowa, also marketing and training materials, resources and directories for 18 other states, www.marketmakeriowa.com. It was developed by the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at ISU with Leopold Center support. Updated resources and introduction to tool [ISU Extension]