Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Marketing Resources

Profitability - High Tunnels - Food miles - Supply networks - Farm-to-institution - Climate change - Other links

Farmer profitablity

Leopold Center grants and funds have been used to develop these tools and resources for farmers looking at markets and profitability:

High tunnels

Food miles and food pathways

The Leopold Center has conducted a number of in-house research projects going back to 1999 on the concept of "food miles" and the way that our food systems work. The most commonly quoted paper was written in 2003, Checking the Food Odometer (link below), which showed that food items traveled an average of 1,494 miles from farm to point of sale.

Supply networks


Food, health and climate change

Links we like

MarketMaker - This website, www.marketmakeriowa.com, links buyers and sellers of numerous food products with lots of training and marketing materials also available. The site operates in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Food Safety: From Farm to Table is a website links to presentations and resources for consumers, farmers, processors and distributors on food safety and other topics, maintained by ISU Extension and Outreach and the ISU hospitality management program. Go to the website

USDA Resources for Buy Local Efforts [PDF] -- This guide to USDA programs and grants was developed by USDA Rural Development Director Bill Menner [May 2014].

IASourceLink - This web page has resources for Iowa entrepreneurs from a network of 320+ nonprofit organizations that provide business-building services such as marketing, financial planning, sales, loans, technical assistance, product development, education and government contracts.

Beginning Farmer Business Planning Toolkit - This web page has links to marketing and business materials for producers of crops, poultry sheep and goats, developed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).

Farm Employment FAQ - Developed by Practical Farmers of Iowa and Farm Commons, this website answers common questions about labors laws, wages, trainees, volunteers and workers' compensationi on the farm. Go to 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 collaboration. Read about the food hub guide on this USDA blog.

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].

Farm to ISU is the local foods program at Iowa State University Dining. Find out how to sell to ISU here.

Midwest Season Extension has resources for farmers in the upper Midwest including training videos. Go to the website

Iowa Food Coop facilitates the sale of Iowa-grown products, developed with a Leopold Center marketing grant. Go to the website

Selling to Institutions: An Iowa Farmer's Guide is made available by the Drake Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines. Read the report [PDF] Here's an online version of the Center's Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing.