Minnesota farmer to keynote April 8 local food conference

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

AMES, Iowa -- Minnesota farmer Lucie Amundsen has made the Final Four but it’s not for her basketball skills. Amundsen is the social marketing genius behind Locally Laid, one of four finalists in a national small business competition for a free 30-second commercial in this year’s Super Bowl.

Iowa farmers can hear how Amundsen -- and her pasture-raised chicks all named LoLa -- captured attention during last year’s contest. She will be the keynote speaker for the Iowa Local Food Conference in Ames on April 8. The conference is hosted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the statewide Local Food and Farm Initiative legislation.

The conference will be held at the Quality Inn in Ames. Registration information will be available soon on the Leopold Center website, www.leopold.iastate.edu

“We’re excited to bring Lucie to Iowa and know that she’ll provide cutting-edge marketing insight on content and delivery, which is one of the growing needs of producers involved in local food enterprises,” said Lynn Heuss, program assistant at the Leopold Center who is planning this year’s event.

“You can have all the product in the world, even customers who want to buy it, but if you can’t move it, it doesn’t impact your bottom line and you will not be in business long-term,” Heuss said.

The conference theme is “It’s Your Business! Expanding Opportunities in the Iowa Food System.” Workshop sessions will follow one of three focus areas: marketing and ways to inform people about your product, food hubs that aggregate and distribute source-identified food products, and processing centers such as shared kitchens and business incubators.

Heuss said the program will interest small growers and those involved in niche markets, owners of businesses, food services personnel and even consumers interested in local foods, as well as others working to build a vibrant local food system in Iowa.

Heuss said she heard about Locally Laid from Intuit’s Small Business Big Game competition, which invited businesses with less than 50 employees to submit videos for online voting. The Minnesota company’s video featuring “salad-eating poultry athletes” was among 15,000 entries. The top four were selected in November, and all finalists will be in New York City on January 31 for announcement of the winner. Intuit will purchase air time for the commercial that will be broadcast during the Super Bowl on February 2.


Lynn Heuss, (515) 201-9405, leheuss@iastate.edu

Laura Miller, (515) 294-5272, lwmiller@iastate.edu