I have just finished reading "Local Food and Grinnell College Dining Services," a report from an independent study group at Grinnell College in the spring of 2006. Professor Jon Andelson (who lent me the report) was the faculty mentor of these students.
The students convincingly make the case that Grinnell College dining services should increase the percentage of local foods it uses from 5.8%. The argument is based upon five principal factors: helping the environment, nutritional value, support for the local economy, cost effectiveness, and student opinion. These factors are roughly in line with GALFA's "Five Reasons to Buy Local": Taste and freshness, food safety, environmental protection, economic health, and connection (for a detailed explanation of these five factors, see http://web.grinnell.edu/cps/galfa/).
This report helps to serve our ends in two major areas:
Regarding local food producers, Professor Andelson also gave me a "Directory of Grinnell Area Food Producers Who Market Locally." It may be useful to contact these producers at some point along the line.