Local Farmers Honored at "Farm to Folk" Event

PFI plans to launch program to enable Des Moines area consumers to shop online for Iowa-produced food.

Local farmers were honored recently for a year of providing Ames-area consumers with healthful, fresh, locally-produced food. In other "Buy Local" news, the Practical Farmers of Iowa Organization is planning to launch a program in 2008 that will enable Des Moines area consumers to shop online for a wide variety of Iowa-produced food products.

The recent event in Ames was for "Farm to Folk," which connects producers and consumers, and was sponsored by Slow Food Ames, a group dedicated to a tasty and diverse food supply.

Farm to Folk farmers who were honored include: Jill and Jeff Burkhart of Picket Fence Creamery, Rick and Stacy Hartmann of Small Potatoes Farm, Cleve Pulley of Pulley Produce, Dean, Judy and Mike Henry of The Berry Patch, Steve Paul's family of Paul's Grains, Bill and Mary Beth Lindsey of Grains of Wisdom, Lonna Nachtigal and Joe Lynch of Onion Creek Farm, Bruce Smith of Iowa Fresh Produce, Nick Wallace of Nick's Wild Fish and Wallace Farms, Nan Bonfils and Don Adams of Full Circle Farm, and Cindy Madsen of Audubon Family Farms.

They're already ordering online in Ames

Consumers Rich Schuler and Teresa Opheim of Ames were the recipients of the Golden Fork Award, for buying the most locally-produced food as consumers. "We want to buy as much food as we can from farmers we know," said Opheim. "The food is fresher, it's better quality and we like supporting these wonderful people." She also finds the online ordering convenient.

Marilyn Anderson, co-coordinator of Farm to Folk, explains, "Farm to Folk impacts farmers by assisting them in marketing their products and impacts consumers by making it easier to access local food." Farm to Folk provides an online ordering system that allows members to buy products from local producers. People have the option of purchasing a seasonal produce share or participating "a la carte," whereby they place an order each week.

Practical Farmers of Iowa urges Ames-area residents to join Farm to Folk. In addition, the group is setting up a similar Internet-ordering system, the Iowa Food Cooperative, which will become active early 2008 to serve the Des Moines area.

"Buy local" online coming to Des Moines

The program will allow Des Moines-area consumers to shop online for a wide variety of Iowa products. The Iowa Food Cooperative project, as it is being called, will sell products such as frozen meat, eggs, dairy products and less perishable produce too, such as potatoes, squash, onions and apples.

Opheim says shoppers will be able to go to a Web site and order products based on lists provided by local farmers. A few days later, those items will be delivered to a location as yet to be determined in the Des Moines area. She says more details will be worked out between now and the time the program is launched shortly before the 2008 growing season.

To learn how to become a member of Farm to Folk, visit www.farmtofolk.com or contact Marilyn Andersen at [email protected] or 515-388-5501, or Deb Edmonson at [email protected] or 515-292-4079.

PFI is a nonprofit sustainable agriculture group dedicated to farming that is profitable, environmentally sound and healthy for consumers and communities. Founded in 1985, PFI has over 700 farmer and nonfarmer members throughout Iowa. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

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