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

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

April 15, 2014
AMES, Iowa – Consumers interested in eating local have more resources to do so with the updated directory, Iowa CSA Farms: 2014 Statewide List of Iowa CSA Farms and Organizers. Produced by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, this...

March 20, 2014
AMES, Iowa – This April 8 at Quality Inn, Ames, farmer Penny Brown Huber will discuss the success of her Marshalltown-based flash-freeze fruit and vegetable packaging plant, Iowa Choice Harvest.   The start-up food processing business was established by a handful of central Iowa...

February 28, 2014
AMES, Iowa – The spotlight is on local food business expansion in this year’s Iowa Local Food Conference. Keynotes and panels will highlight the growing number of opportunities available to food producers in their local networks. Conference attendees may participate in three tracks:...