Improving Viability for Small Farms Operated by Underserved Producers through Scaled Market Connections and Cooperative Sales

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2024: $49,999.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipient: Dalla Terra Ranch Foundation
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

In Harmony Farm and seven farm partners (FP), each with
one-to-five-acre parcels, will implement the project. The effort
is focused on a combination of farmer education/skill building to
support marketing, raising awareness of the value of locally
sourced, sustainably produced food (LSF) with institutional
consumers, and creating a digital point of sale to connect
farmers and institutional consumers.

Efforts address multiple community needs, including:

  • Limited access to urban plots of land, minimal opportunities
    to scale, and inaccessible business support often prevent refugee
    farmers from expanding their businesses. IHF provides larger
    parcels, business support to formalize operations, and
    instruction in regenerative agriculture.
  • Market development for larger purchases is necessary to
    support scaled production. Aside from farm-to-table restaurants,
    there are limited institutional markets for LSF resulting in most
    refugee farmers making direct-to-consumer sales – a strategy that
    can’t stand alone as they scale. This project will raise
    awareness of the value of sustainable production, creating
    institutional demand to balance farmers’ direct-to-consumer
  • Connecting institutional buyers to larger-scale sources of
    LSF using an adapted, digital point of sale that allows
    institutions to identify needs and farmers to make evidence-based
    planning decisions to meet those demands.

Project objectives from proposal:

IHF will partner with seven small, beginning farm businesses
operated by historically underserved producers to teach farmers
how to:

  • Implement sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Market their harvest through cooperative, online presales.
  • Use presales as an effective strategy to support efficient
    crop planting resulting in environmentally, socially, and
    financially sustainable production.

IHF will complete outreach to at least 100 institutional
consumers to:

  • Demonstrate the value of sustainable agricultural production.
  • Connect institutional consumers to points of purchase for
  • Increase consumer access to and purchase of LSF for
    institutions and the people they serve.


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.