Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Economic Impacts of Local Food in Iowa

girl holding red tomatoThis project summarizes the impact of the local food industry on Iowa’s economy in connection with efforts of the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG). It is based on data collected from 2012 and 2013, in cooperation with coordinators of the 15 regional food groups that comprise the statewide RFSWG. This two-year project is the first coordinated, comprehensive statewide attempt to measure actual community impacts associated with regional food system development in Iowa. 

The Leopold Center prepared two reports from this project:
2012 Economic Impacts of Iowa's Regional Food Systems Working Group
[published 11-2013] and


2013 Economic Impacts of Iowa's Regional Food Systems Working Group
[published 11-2014].

For more information about this evaluation, contact Associate Scientist Corry Bregendahl, (515) 462-0450, or corry@iastate.edu

A January 2015 report from the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) also noted recent growth in farmers markets, regional food hubs and farm-to-school programs: Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress.  Here's an evaluation of the report by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

 


Statewide report - 2014

Local food champions - 2014

Iowa's local food champions include farm-based and community businesses working with regional food groups throughout the state. Read their stories at the links below or download a printable copy of all profiles.


Statewide report - 2013boy holding beet

Local food champions - 2013

Read our local food champion stories at the links below or download a printable copy of all profiles.


More about RFSWG

Established in 2003, the Regional Food Systems Working Group is a statewide umbrella network for all Iowans working to build a more resilient regional food system. RFSWG is comprised of 15 geographically-based groups called regional food groups that reach 81 of Iowa's 99 counties. Each regional food group works with different stakeholders -- farmers, food-based businesses, non-profits, Extension, Resource Conservation & Development organizations, educational institutions and government agencies -- to support local food systems development in their region.

See a map and names of groups on this page.

For more information about RFSWG and the local groups participating in this network, contact Lynn Heuss, assistant coordinator, leheuss@iastate.edu, (515) 201-9405.