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The Leopold Center has used many approaches to study food systems: food mapping, community discussions, historical data and trends. Here is a variety of assessments that have been conducted over the years.
A Resource Guide to Cultivate the Linn County Local Food System: This guide was a project of the Regional Food Systems Working Group, written by food system planner Jason Grimm.
Food system atlas: ISU sociologist Clare Hinrichs worked in four Iowa communities to find out how people ate, where their food came from, how the land was used, and opportunities for local marketing, resulting in these reports:
Grape Expectations: This is the Leopold Center's 2002 white paper that looked at opportunities to re-establish the grape industry in Iowa.
Apples to Apples: This is the first Leopold Center white paper on food systems looking at apples.
Iowa ag snapshot: This is a chart, produced by Leopold Center staff, that shows how the number of crop and livestock enterprises has declined on Iowa farms each year since 1920.
Another effective way to look at local and regional food systems is to consider their economic impact. The Leopold Center has worked with ISU economist Dave Swenson on a number of economic impact studies.
This study, conducted for the Regional Food Systems Working Group, also tries to quantify impacts of local food sales on local economies. Evaluating Economic Impacts of Local Food Purchasing in Several Market Channels in Black Hawk and Surrounding Counties
RFSWG Data Collection Guide - A manual that outlines a shared measurement system for collecting economic data for the Regional Food Systems Working Group.
Farmers markets This was the first study that looked at the importance of farmers markets on the Iowa economy as a whole. Consumers, Vendors and the Economic Importance of Iowa Farmers' Markets
A number of Leopold Center grants and in-house projects have provided valuable information in establishing new markets. Here are links to some of the more popular reports.
Unique foods have always attracted followers, one the basic concepts behind agritourism. The Leopold Center has funded a number of projects and conducted its own research in this area in an attempt to expand markets for Iowa farmers.
Community Food System Resources - This online bibliography categorizes published literature on local and regional food systems by key topics. It is maintained by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the University of California-Davis. Go to the website
Food Systems Profile Project - The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development has created printable county profiles and maps for a 12-state region including Iowa fo food systems activities and resources. Go to the web portal
Regional Food Hub Resource Guide -- This is a 93-page guide to food hubs, businesses or organizations that connect producers with buyers by offering a suite of production, distribution and marketing services. It was developed by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and a national food hub collaboraiton. Download the guide [PDF]
On-Farm Food Safety Project - This is a national website funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency USDA to help growers develop their own food safety plan. Go to the website
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass - This online resource includes stories, pictures and videos about USDA's support for local and regional food systems in all 50 states using an interactive map. Or read the 80-page Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Guide [PDF].
Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts and Issues is USDA Economic Research Report No. 97, which provides an overview of local food systmes, definitions, market size and reach of this growing sector. Read the report [PDF] . Get other updated info here.
Facts on Direct-to-Consumer Food Marketing are key findings from the 2007 Census of Agriculture prepared by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. Read the report
Iowa Market Maker is an interactive website where farmers can register their business to find markets in their area. It was originally developed in Illinois and expanded to Iowa with a Leopold Center grant. The database now includes 17 states and a variety of other marketing resources. Go to website.
How to Direct Market Your Beef This book is available online free from the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Get this book.
Missouri Regional Cuisines Project at the University of Missouri Extension markets wine and food with distinct labels or origin. Go to website.
Food Environment Atlas is an on-line database of county-level statistics about food ranging from the number and proximity of grocery stores to how many gallons of soft drinks are consumed. Go to the website, developed by the USDA's Economic Research Service.
The National Agricultural Law Center maintains a website with resources on topics related to local food systems. Go to the website
National Good Food Network - A program of Wallace Center at Winrock International that offers webinars and other resources for scaling up regional and local food systems
Community Food Security Coalition - This coalition offers networking and training to more than 300 North American organizations involved in food issues related to social and economic justice, anti-hunger, the environment and community development. The group leads the National Farm to School Network.