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

March 3, 2015
AMES, Iowa – The first coordinated study of food hub development in Iowa shows that food hubs play a significant role in the state’s local and regional food economy. Thirteen food hubs purchased $4.5 million in food from more than 450 Iowa farmers and supported 58 jobs.

February 13, 2015
AMES, Iowa – With spring just around the corner, Iowans have a resource to help them connect to local food producers in their area, Iowa CSA Farms: 2015 Statewide List of CSA Farms and Organizers Serving Iowa.

January 22, 2015
AMES, Iowa – The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has awarded grants to 17 innovative research and demonstration projects that promise to move agricultural production toward greater sustainability while improving Iowa’s soil and water resources.