Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Marketing & Food Systems Initiative


  • 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 regional 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.

Read summaries from each completed MFSI grant here.

Download the 2016 CSA Directory here!

Economic impacts of local food in Iowa - see our report and profiles of local food champions.

What's been learned from our projects? Here's a snapshot of nine MFSI grants and an evaluation of seven Local Food & Farm Initiative grants from 2014. 

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

Latest News from this Initiative

March 25, 2016
A directory is now available for those seeking out local, fresh food beyond the grocery store. The publication, Iowa CSA Farms: 2016 Statewide List of CSA Farms and Organizers Serving Iowa, has just been updated to include the latest contact information from farms across the state who offer...

November 23, 2015
AMES, Iowa— Iowa Local Food Organizational Toolkit: Structure, Management and Finance from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is a set of new publications now available for those looking for a thorough treatment of how to start a local foods organization in Iowa.

October 28, 2015
AMES, Iowa - A new publication is now available from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Store. Using Accounting Software for Food Hubs: Processing Traceable Orders (LF0009) is a step-by-step tutorial based on QuickBooks Professional accounting software.