Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Pubs & Papers

Research can take many forms and lead to many different outcomes. The ultimate goal is sustainability – for the landscape, Iowa’s people and natural resources. Below is a list of intermediate outcomes of Leopold Center-supported projects, partnerships and activities. Included are extension publications, in-house research projects, informative presentations and other reports – all with some link to the Leopold Center.

All Pubs & Papers are PDFs, which require a free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click on the image or title to view the PDF.

Leopold Center Document These materials were written, reviewed or presented by Leopold Center staff. All other materials are related or based on projects supported by the Leopold Center.


Pub & Papers here are sorted by date with the newest at the top. You can filter the list by selecting a topic area below and clicking "Apply." To see all again you can select "<Any>" as the topic, or click here. There is also an alphabetical listing available.

Read abstracts of research, education and demonstration projects that received funds from the Leopold Center. The document includes 338 grant projects completed from 1996 through 2013, listed by topic and year of completion. Summaries of all project results are online. To receive a copy of a project's complete final report, contact the Leopold Center, (515) 294-3711.

December 2013
Leopold Center Document Abstracts of Recent Leopold Center Projects
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

This report summarizes the statewide impact of the local food industry on Iowa's economy in connection with efforts of the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG). The report measured four indicators of economic change: local food sales by farmers, local food purchases by grocery stores, restaurants and institutions, job creation and funds leveraged to support development of regional food systems. Additional information here

November 2013
Leopold Center Document 2012 Economic Impacts of Iowa's Regional Food Systems Working Group
Corry Bregendahl and Arlene Enderton, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

This two-page document summarizes the statewide impact of the local food industry on Iowa's economy in connection with efforts of the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG). The evaluation was conducted by the Leopold Center. Go to the full report here. Additional details on this page.

November 2013
Leopold Center Document Impact Brief: 2012 Economic Impacts of Iowa's Regional Food Systems Working Group
Corry Bregendahl and Arlene Enderton, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

This case study details the founding and early success of the Iowa Valley Food Co-op, including surveys and market research, reviews of other web-based food cooperatives, and development of policies and procedures. Other issues discussed are the cooperative's legal structure, software considerations, member recruitment and leadership development. More about this research project

July 2013
Leopold Center Document Starting an Online Local Food Co-op
Jesse Singerman, Prairie Ventures, LLC

This is a synopsis of presentations at the 2013 Iowa Local Food Conference. Breakout sessions focused on three challenges related to local foods -- Business Incentives, Beginning and Minority Farmers, and Food Incentives -- and offered success stories from national and Iowa-based speakers.

May 2013
Leopold Center Document Sharing the Lessons Learned from the 2013 Iowa Local Food Conference
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

This publication looks at what's been learned from convening practitioners and community leaders interested in developing local and regional food businesses in Iowa, and other opportunities created by the Leopold Center's major investment in this work. The RFSWG includes 17 local groups that operate in 89 of Iowa's 99 counties. More about RFSWG here. More about the evaluation here.

May 2013
Leopold Center Document Funding Impact Brief: The Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG)
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Is local food more expensive than its non-local counterpart? The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Marketing and Food Systems Initiative conducted consumer market research in June, July, and August 2009 to examine what Iowa consumers pay for locally grown products and how these prices compare to non-local market channel prices. This handout explains the comparisons [PDF]  Read news release about this project.

December 2009
Leopold Center Document Is Local Food More Expensive? A Consumer Price Perspective on Local and Non-local Foods Purchased in Iowa
Rich Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Nick McCann, Iowa State University graduate student

Consumers who participated in this Internet survey would like to see farmers receive a higher share of the profits for retail food products. See related grant project 2004-MSP05.

October 2005
Leopold Center Document Consumer perceptions of place-based foods, food chain profit distribution and family farms
Thomas E. DeCarlo, ISU College of Business, Veronica Jean Franck, Drake University College of Law, and Rich Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

This report details the assumptions and calculations used to estimate the food miles for a container of strawberry yogurt.

March 2005
Leopold Center Document Calculating Food Miles for a Multiple Ingredient Food Product
Rich Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Andrew Benjamin, ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

This study included focus groups and telephone surveys of Iowans about their understanding and knowledge of regional food systems and related concepts.

January 2005
Leopold Center Document Examining Awareness of and Support of Regional Food Systems in Iowa: Establishing a baseline of consumer knowledge about regional food systems and communication preferences
Kay M. Palan, Regional Food Systems Working Group