Farm to ISU: Helping Iowa State University Dining Staff Understand and Grow the Local Food Purchasing Program

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2008: $9,132.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Grant Recipient: Iowa State University
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Shashi Sathisan-Nambisan
Iowa State University


  • Fruits: apples
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    Understanding Dining Staff Attitudes toward Local FoodsResearchers and institutions are aware of an increase in consumer demand for local foods and perceptions of dining directors; however few are considering the views of the dining staff who prepare locally-sourced food. This study explores the perceptions of dining services staff at Iowa State University toward the two-year old local food purchasing program Farm to ISU. Over the course of six months, staff were surveyed, participated in a workshop on local food, and then took the survey for a second time.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Long and short term outcomes

    The goal of this project is to increase the knowledge and resource base of ISU Dining staff in order to foster an institutional culture around, and program ownership of, Farm to ISU.

    The short-term outcome is:
    •Assessment of ISU Dining staff needs for, and interest in growing and maintaining the program

    The intermediate-term outcomes are:
    •The creation of a diverse regional farm to college dining program group
    •Increased awareness of the value and importance of local food systems among ISU Dining staff

    The long-term objectives are to grow and maintain the Farm to ISU program which will ensure the economic viability of local farms, foster community by connecting farmers and the dining staff, and increase environmental quality. Local, diversified, small and mid-size farms will have a greatly expanded market with a large institution like Iowa State University buying products from them. Purchasing from such farms will help ensure that local farmland is neither consolidated nor suburbanized.

    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.