Producers, consumers, business owners and anyone interested in helping develop Iowa's local food system are invited to register for an upcoming statewide conference, "Road Map for Resilience: Empowering Iowa's Local Food Economy." The conference, sponsored jointly by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will take place on March 19-20, 2013, at the ISU Scheman Building on campus at Ames.
John O'Sullivan, director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will give the keynote address. O'Sullivan is a leader of the North Carolina 10% Campaign, which has received national recognition for its progress toward the goal of keeping 10% of North Carolina's food purchases within the state. "The campaign has demonstrated to people quite clearly that there is a serious market for local food," O'Sullivan says.
There is a serious market for local food, people are more food-conscious than ever before
Lynn Heuss, a Leopold Center program assistant and conference organizer, says she intends the conference to forge partnerships that will spark a similar statewide campaign in Iowa.
"The conference is open to everyone, from moms who want access to healthier food for their kids, to restaurant and franchise owners, to production farmers and community supported agriculture operators," Heuss says. "Food impacts everyone and we want to have as many voices at the table as possible."
Breakout sessions in the mornings and afternoons will be led by three nationally recognized experts: Anupama Joshi, executive director of the National Farm to School Network; Diane Endicott of Good Natured Family Farms; and Susan Futrell, who works at a Boston nonprofit food hub called Red Tomato and the University of Iowa.
Attendees will learn all about the business side of producing local foods
Participants will learn the latest about business management, beginning and minority farmers and food incentives such as Farm to School and Farm to Institution. Each session will include four "storytellers" who will share insights from Local Food and Farm Initiative- and Leopold Center-funded projects on local foods.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The conference also will include vendor exhibits and guided networking opportunities. Iowa State will provide locally produced options for a continental breakfast and lunch.
Register online here. The registration fee, which includes meals, is $75. Students can register for $25 (early) or $40 at the door.
Contact Lynn Heuss for more information at 515-201-9405 or [email protected].
Iowa's Local Food and Farm Program recently awarded four new grants
In other recent news regarding the development of local foods in the state, the Iowa Local Food and Farm Program has selected four projects to receive funding in 2013 that move toward the goal of strengthening Iowa's local food economy. The Local Food and Farm Program, coordinated by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, is part of an initiative established by the Iowa Legislature in 2011. The program's advisory council awarded $28,581 to four special projects, an increase of more than $10,000 from last year.
* Rich Wrage, representing Boone County Extension and Outreach, received $9,872 to investigate the feasibility of a partnership between a local food aggregator and a catering business to share expenses.
* Nick McCann, of Winneshiek County Extension and Outreach, received $9,400 to help local food businesses become more competitive through vendor-managed inventories.
* Diane Weiland, president of Wallace Centers of Iowa, received $6,824 to train apprentices interested in starting small farming operations.
* Flannery Cerbin, representing the National Center for Appropriate Technology, received $2,485 to collect stories and best practices from Iowa's Farm to School movement and archive them on a website.
These projects will address several challenges in our current food system
"These projects will address several challenges in our current food system," says Lynn Heuss, LFFP assistant coordinator. "At the completion of these projects, because we have an evaluation strategy in place, we will have data that can potentially be used as templates around the state." You can learn more about LFFP at the Leopold Center website.