New report shows impact of local foods in the Tri-State region

hoop house at Tree of Life CSA

Local foods are making an economic impact in Iowa. In fact, sales of food produced in the tri-state region (Dubuque, Jackson, Jones and Delaware County) by ten reporting farmers added nearly $430,583 to the local economy in 2012. In addition, $302,892 of local foods was purchased by six regional grocery stores, restaurants and institutions in the region.
Dubuque County ISU Extension and Outreach helped collect the data in cooperation with the statewide Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG), which supports local food efforts in 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties.  The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture coordinated the evaluation for one of the first statewide attempts to measure actual impacts of the local food industry on Iowa’s economy.
The evaluation tracked local food purchases by grocery stores, restaurants and institutions, and sales from Iowa farm-based enterprises that marketed their products locally in 2012. Nearly 180 businesses and individuals participated in the data collection effort, including 74 buyers and 103 producers of local foods. The evaluation also measured job creation as a result of local food production, processing or utilization, and counted funds leveraged by the regional food groups that comprise the statewide RFSWG network.

“We believe there is an intensely powerful story to tell about the value that local foods bring to our communities and commerce in our region,” notes Regional Foods Coordinator and data collector, Brittany Bethel.
Get more details in this report, The Economic Impact of Iowa’s Local Food Champions: Dubuque Eats Well.  The report is available at:
The statewide report, 2012 Economic Impacts of Iowa’s Regional Food Systems Working Group, is available by title on the Leopold Center website at:

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