About us

basket of veggiesVision
Resilient food systems and healthy communities.

To support resilient food systems and healthy communities through research, education, and community engagement with diverse partners.

Services we offer

Leadership and professional development

We provide ongoing opportunities for food systems professionals to improve professional skills and expand knowledge through workshops and webinars, as well as networking with others in person and via internet.


We create needs-driven, research-based tools and publications on topics related to local foods, such as food hubs, economic impacts, urban agriculture, etc. See all of our publications here.


We gather data on the context, processes, and outcomes of local food systems work so that our community partners can effectively evaluate their own work.

Facilitation and outreach

We help organize and facilitate statewide and regional meetings with local foods stakeholders, such as the Regional Food Systems Working Group.

Education and youth

We support youth programming around local foods through our work with FoodCorps, 4H, FFA, and other organizations.

Partnership development

We connect diverse partners across the state to move local foods work forward.

Operating principles

  • Create safe space for all people involved in the local food system to innovate, engage in dialogue, and pursue shared goals.
  • Promote open and honest conversation that does not judge, and respects multiple perspectives.
  • Acknowledge existing power discrepancies and differing levels of risk among food system stakeholders.
  • Build quality relationships defined by honesty, trust, mutual respect, resource-sharing and transparency.
  • Support community-based learning and decision-making that honors local realities, culture and values.  Ensure that these processes drive a common research agenda.
  • Focus on shared successes rather than individual recognition.  Seek collaboration rather than competition.
  • Support an interdisciplinary approach to food system change by fostering connections between people, institutions, infrastructure, natural environment, economics, and policy.
  • Seek various levels of change to improve the whole food system, focusing on short, medium and long term improvements.

Why is Iowa State University investing in Local Foods?

Want to learn more about our team?

Contact us if you would like more information about a particular topic, want to host or attend a training, want us to facilitate one of your meetings, etc.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Local Foods Program
Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011
localfoods@iastate.edu; 515-294-3086