Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Marketing & Food Systems Initiative

Goals

  • Research and test new marketing strategies and business structures that allow Iowa's farmers and communities to retain more of the value for energy, food or fiber produced
  • Support education, conduct research and facilitate partnerships to increase investment and support of local and reginal food, fiber and energy enterprises
  • Conduct research and education to address various challenges that impede farmers and farmer networks from being equal partners in energy, food or fiber-based value chain

Outcomes for Marketing and Food System Projects

  • Establishment of  new or contribution to existing multi-organizational working groups based on farmer and community needs and challenges in food, fiber, or energy enterprises
  • Increase market opportunities, enhance profitability, and reduce risk for farmers aggregating supply
  • Increase knowledge and/or decision tool development related to: (1)  community, health, safety, economic, and environmental impacts of Iowa-grown foods produced using sustainable agriculture; and/or (2) energy efficiencies, greenhouse gas emissions, value-adding technologies, food safety, producer marketing networks, labor markets, and other economic, environmental and community factors
  • Increase access to healthy, nutritious, affordable local food produced using sustainable agriculture practices. 
  • Increase knowledge related to market access, profitability, and marketing and educational support for fiber and energy enterprises that use sustainable production practices.

Economic impacts of local food in Iowa - see our newest report and profiles of local food champions. USDA resources to help communities showcase local foods [PDF]

Initiative coordinator: Craig Chase, (515) 294-3711, cchase@iastate.edu

So what's been learned from our projects? Here's a snapshot of 9 MFSI grants and an evaluation of 7 Local Food & Farm Initiative grants. See also summaries from each completed MFSI grant here.

Latest News from this Initiative

October 22, 2014
Looking to start a local food business or processing facility? How about a school garden? As local food systems continue to develop, community leaders need access to capital to start or sustain their efforts. The good news is, there are funding options available from both federal and nonā€federal...

October 2, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Iowa State University project designed to help communities build their capacity to produce, process and distribute food will be featured at the Iowa Hunger Summit that is part of World Food Prize activities.

September 23, 2014
AMES, Iowa -- The 14h Annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held Nov. 16-17 on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, as a joint effort between Iowa State University and the UI Office of Sustainability. Producers and experts from across the country will share tips for transitioning into...