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

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...

September 22, 2014
AMES, Iowa – It’s not easy to start a food business. Shared-use kitchens offer a safer venue for food entrepreneurs to launch new enterprises and participate in the economic development of a community by creating jobs and markets for local products, and retaining money within the...

July 30, 2014
The fun of shopping at a farmers market is a great reason for eating produce while it’s in season and grown close to home, not to mention the payoff of hot, buttered ears of sweet corn picked fresh this morning.