Building Capacity to Support Local Food System and Community Marketing Efforts in Iowa

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2000: $39,201.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Robert Karp
Practical Farmers of Iowa


  • Agronomic: barley, corn, oats, potatoes, rye, wheat
  • Fruits: melons, apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, berries (strawberries)
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), lentils, onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals, trees
  • Animals: bees, bovine, poultry, goats, rabbits, swine, sheep, fish
  • Animal Products: dairy
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, urban/rural integration


    Five workshops were held across Iowa on local food and community marketing. The workshops, targeted to agriculture professionals and community stakeholders, employed novel approaches in order to engage the participants to think more deeply about the food system and become better resource providers to farmers and others involved in alternative production and marketing efforts. The workshops were extremely well-attended and evaluations show they were highly effective. While the longer term impacts of the workshops remain to be seen, follow up evaluations suggest that many participants have become more active and effective in supporting community marketing efforts in Iowa.

    Project objectives:

    Our objectives were the following:

    1. Increase knowledge and understanding of local food system concepts and community marketing strategies by CES, NRCS staff and other key agriculture professionals,

    2. Increase the capacity and commitment of CES, NRCS staff and other key agriculture professionals to engage in partnerships and projects that support local food system and community marketing efforts;

    3. Develop an effective local food systems training model and manual that will be replicable for use in other states in the North Central Region;

    4. Share knowledge and experiences gained from existing community marketing and local food system projects, including those that have been funded by NC SARE;

    The hoped for long term impact of these efforts included:

    1. The proliferation of successful community marketing and local food system projects in Iowa;

    2. Institutionalization of programs that address gaps in the infrastructure and support system necessary for a more local food system;

    3. Greater profitability and proliferation of farms practicing sustainable agriculture.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.