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Organizations that develop and support local food economies

This entry will contain on ongoing listing of organizations in Iowa that help to develop and support local food economies:

Practical Farmers of Iowa (www.practicalfarmers.org): "A non-profit, educational organization that began in 1985 and now has over 700 members in Iowa and neighboring states. Our mission is to research, develop and promote profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture. We carry out diverse programs to assist farmers with both production and marketing needs, to raise public awareness of where food comes from and how it is grown, and to educate youth about agriculture and the environment."

Grown Locally (www.grownlocally.com): "It's all about convenient ways to receive fresh products from our local farms." Grown Locally is a producer cooperative of 15 farms located in Northeast Iowa. Anybody within a 40 mile radius can order online from these local farms. The growers in the Grown Locally (Grown stands for Goods Raised Only With Nature) cooperative make joint decisions on markets and prices, and do the washing, packaging, and delivery of these products. Grown Locally helps to reduce the complexity and uncertainty in buying locally produced foods.

The Grinnell Area Local Food Alliance (http://web.grinnell.edu/cps/galfa/index.htm)): The Grinnell Area Local Food Alliance (GALFA) "works to encourage local institutions and individuals to buy locally-produced food items." GALFA's goal is to increase the demand for locally produced food by institutions in the Grinnell area.

University of Iowa (UNI) Iowa Local Food Project (http://www.uni.edu/ceee/foodproject/): "Strengthening the local food economy in Iowa through:

  • Connecting institutional food buyers to nearby farms and processors
  • Fostering a growing relationship among consumers, grocers, meat lockers, restaurant owners, dining service staff, farmers, local government and economic development officials
  • Making it easier for Iowans to find and purchase locally grown food and agricultural products
  • Assisting local independent food and farm businesses better communicate their positive impacts in the local economy
  • Sharing lessons learned with other communities and policy makers"

This project helps to develop markets for Iowa-grown and processed foods at the University of Northern Iowa dining services and other organizations. Students at UNI and other schools personally help to find available local food products.

Johnson County Local Food Project: In this project – which ended in 2002 – a coordinator facilitated meetings to encourage local commerce, developed directories of local producers, and promoted local food events in the county.

Iowa State University's Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management Program: The goal of this project is to help Iowa producers and food service directors learn how to develop a more efficient infrastructure for local food systems.

Farm Bureau and Sodexho Services "“Farm Bureau corporate cafeteria:Farm Bureau and Sodexho are cooperating to expand the use of Iowa-grown foods at corporate cafeterias that Sodexho services in the Des Moines area.

Local Food Systems with Business and Industry – Jackson County:A partnership between Maquoketa Valley Producers, Limestone Bluffs Resource and Conservation and Development, and a local sheltered workshop. The project's goal is to develop a structure that allows employees from local businesses to obtain locally grown foods. Employees of these businesses fill out order forms for products available from local producers; orders are filled by the sheltered workshop employees and delivered to the staff.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State university (http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/) "explores and cultivates alternatives that secure healthier people and landscapes in Iowa and the nation." The Leopold Center researches the negative effects of agricultural practices, helps to develop alternative agricultural practices, and works to make these findings accessible to the public.

A proposal for a project to increase the use of local foods in Missouri (http://foodcircles.missouri.edu/proposal.htm): "Our purpose is to nurture and expand the emerging community-based agriculture and food system in Missouri by coordinating a network of farmers, processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants and consumers in Kansas City, Mid-Missouri and St. Louis. We will fill the gaps in our current community food systems by 1) providing better market access for farmers; 2) improving access to local food for consumers; 3) coordinating and strengthening distribution and retailing infrastructure for community-based food businesses; and 4) creating stable and sufficient demand for local food among consumers. We will facilitate the production and coordination of locally produced and processed foods at the right price through improved distribution and retailing infrastructure, and we will promote the social, nutritional, ecological and economic benefits of this food to consumers. Our network will continue to prepare farmers to grow and market locally produced food. We will advocate for public policy education/organizing campaigns to provide incentives and a regulatory framework that supports community-based food systems." Of particular interest in this paper is its discussion of the perceived demand for local foods, and how they propose to best implement the increased use of locally produced foods.
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The following site:

http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/farmtoschool.html

provides descriptions of existing programs (nationally) that help connect local farmers and local cafeterias/dining halls/lunchrooms in other institutions.