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 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.

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

June 30, 2015
AMES, Iowa – Summaries of 11 recently completed research projects are available from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. The research covered many topics – from water quality and alternative practices for corn and soybean systems, to activities that...

May 28, 2015
AMES, Iowa -- The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is looking for innovative ideas for research and projects as part of its long-running competitive grants program. Of particular interest this year is work that focuses on soil health, farming options to create a more diverse landscape,...

May 15, 2015
AMES, Iowa – Commercial production topics and practices will be featured at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 2015 Fruit and Vegetable Field Day on Monday, Aug. 10 at the ISU Horticulture Research Station, near Ames. The annual event will begin at 1:30 p.m. and conclude with a...