Meet our team

Program Manager

Craig Chase is the program manager for the Local Foods Program at Iowa State University, which became official in October 2015. Craig grew up in a mid-sized town in northeast Iowa and attended University of Northern Iowa to become an accountant. Along the way, economics was added into the mix. When he decided he didn’t want to be a full-time accountant after graduation, Craig found himself needing to go to graduate school to add to his economics background. With a newly-minted MS in agricultural economics from ISU, Craig moved into farm management, where he helped producers find ways to become more profitable.

Craig started working with conventional corn, soybean, hog and cattle producers, and then moved into water quality projects and sustainable agriculture (it was called LISA back then – Low Input Sustainable Agriculture) in the 1980s. Craig began working with farmers who wanted to transition from conventional to organic production in the late 1990s, and then working with small sized farms on horticultural crops and small-niche livestock around 2002. This led to his interest in local food systems work.

Craig holds a split appointment between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, where he is the program manager for the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative.

Overall, Craig has over 30 years’ experience in helping producers determining ways to start a farming operation and then how to improve profitability.

Contact him at


Coalition Building

Lynn Heuss is a Program Coordinator with the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Team. She works with the Local Food and Farm Initiative (LFFI) Advisory Committee, she convenes and facilitates the Networking and Professional Development gatherings provided by the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG), and she recently joined the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit team to provide assistance and support with partnership/coalition development.

Lynn assists with project management and partnership development with groups around the state of Iowa who are interested in creating coalitions to develop or support their local food system.

She has been working with local food systems since 2009 with various appointments and research: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Iowa Food Cooperative, Drake Agricultural Law Center, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Midwest Region Farm to School Network, Iowa Farmers Union and current work with the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Team. She received her Master of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Administration from Iowa State University in 2014.

Ag Urbanism

Courtney Long is a design fellow at the ISU Community Design Lab and a member of the Local Foods Program team at Iowa State University. Long assists in the development of sustainable community design with communities around Iowa. She believes that communities can be strengthened and empowered economically and socially through aesthetically designed landscapes infused with the power of sufficient holistic food systems.

Long manages the development and implementation of the Community Food Systems Program, connecting community development tactics to create holistic food systems in communities around Iowa.

She received her BLA and MS from Iowa State University studying landscape architecture and sustainable agriculture, and has her Certificate of Health Care Garden Design from the Chicago Botanical Gardens. She completed her health coach certificate in May 2015 from the Institute for Integrated Nutrition, with the goal of incorporating nutrition into food systems development. Long has presented nationally on topics of local food programing and food systems development, and received a presentation award at the Post-Doctorate Research Day on the work of the Community Design Lab.

Contact Courtney at this email address.

Administrative Specialist

Emily Coll is the administrative specialist with the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Program team. She supports the program manager and program coordinators in their program efforts around the state.

Emily recently returned to Iowa to support and participate in the local foods movement. She was raised on a corn/soybean rotation farm in Guthrie County that did not survive the 1980’s farm financial crisis and therefore moved to the big city of Boone, Iowa. This experience catapulted her into horticulture and resilient production systems. Emily received a B.S. in horticulture from Iowa State University and continued her passion in ecologically based production systems by receiving a M.S. in entomology from Michigan State University.

Emily has held a variety of positions in the green industry and project management in water conservation/efficiency. She owned a business which focused on providing expertise to water providers on implementing and evaluating best management practices. Emily is excited to be a part of this critical movement to support healthy food diversity and security.

You can reach Emily at the Local Foods Program office number, 515-294-3086, or email her at


Program Coordinator

As Program Coordinator for the Local Foods Team, Caitlin’s work primarily focuses on supporting and connecting the growing number of local food coordinators and other county workers around Iowa whose work intersects with the local food system.  She also focuses on creating awareness and support for food justice and equity in Iowa as she is vehemently dedicated to dismantling racism and oppression in our food systems and communities.

A Midwest native, Caitlin has a BA in political science, environmental studies, and international relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a graduate degree in conflict resolution from the University of Utah, and a permaculture design certificate from Regenerative Design Institute in California. Her “hands-on” education and career path have taken her around the US and internationally (Eastern Africa, Central America, the Caribbean) to work for rural and urban community-based social, environmental, economic, and food justice-focused nonprofits in the roles of program manager, executive director, board member, mediator, community participant, and volunteer.

Caitlin is excited to be back in the Midwest and working with the Local Foods Team, where many of her passions intersect in helping to create a just, local, and regenerative food system here in Iowa.

Program Assistant

Alice’s research and outreach focuses on beginning farmers and increasing the visibility of local foods work at Iowa State University. Alice also assists Arlene with evaluation work.

Alice grew up in France. She has an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Development from AgroParisTech (France). Between degrees, she spent some time in the Caribbean with the International Research Center for Agricultural Development, and participating in agro-ecology research and sustainable pest management practices. She also worked at the Federal University of Ceara (Brazil), where she led research on farmers’ conditions in the Landless Workers’ Movement. Interested in the evolution of farming and the growing impact of the local food movement in the United States, she wrote her master’s thesis on northeast Iowa farms in 2013. She fell in love with Iowa and wanted to be part of the local food movement.

Contact Alice by email at this link.

Communications Specialist

Leigh is the Communications Specialist for the Local Foods Team. She grew up on a family grain farm in northwest Iowa, and received a bachelor of arts degree in communications and journalism from the University of Northern Iowa in 1982. She has worked in television, radio, newspapers, magazines, public relations and as a freelance editor and designer. She served as director of Iowa Farmers Union from 2003 – 2008, and executive director of Women, Food and Agriculture Network from 2008 – 2014. She and her husband live on an acreage north of Ames, IA, and have two grown sons.

Contact Leigh at this email.


Food Access

Carrie’s research interests include the intersection of sustainable agriculture, food, and critical geography. She focuses on understanding how we can make local food systems more socially just, open, and process-based, with an emphasis on food access and community engagement.

Carrie received an MS in Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University, and a BA in the Plan II Honors program and a BBA in Accounting, both from The University of Texas at Austin. Between degrees, she worked in accounting and business intelligence. Originally from Texas, Carrie moved to Iowa in 2012. In the Ames community, she is an active board member, treasurer, and finance committee chair at Wheatsfield Cooperative Grocery, and serves as a garden co-leader and meal service volunteer with Food at First. Currently, Carrie is pursuing a PhD in Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.


FoodCorps Fellow

Chelsea is an Iowa native who grew up in the Quad Cities near the great Mississippi River. She is the oldest of four in a fabulous family that enjoys spending time outdoors together. Chelsea’s appreciation for good food and community grew at the University of Iowa where she served as a manager of the campus organic garden and president of the university’s Environmental Coalition. Her education in the Geography Department centered on local and regional food systems, food justice issues, and natural resource conservation. After graduation, she traveled to India to explore biodynamic farming in rural communities. There, she learned how to grow peanuts and milk cows!

Before becoming the FoodCorps Iowa fellow with the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Team, Chelsea was a FoodCorps service member with Des Moines Public Schools for two terms. There, she spent time in school gardens, classrooms, demo kitchens, and cafeterias, learning alongside students about the importance of real food and growing opportunities to access it. She partnered with teachers and district administrators to connect project-based, participatory learning in the garden to curriculum standards, and helped food service staff source local, fresh food for the 30,000 Des Moines students. This year, she is thrilled to support Iowa’s vibrant team of 12 service members who put the heart in Heartland!

Contact Chelsea at this email.

Food System Coordinator

Teresa Wiemerslage is a Regional Program Coordinator for Food Systems for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in six counties in northeast Iowa. She coordinates the work of the Northeast Iowa Food & Farm Coalition (NIFF) and currently serves as the ISU Extension liaison for the NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative. Before her current position, she was a county extension director for 10 years. She holds a BS in Biology and Microbiology from South Dakota State University and a MS in Plant Pathology from Iowa State University. Raised on a sheep and hog farm in South Dakota, she now lives on a fourth generation family farm along the Minnesota border, where they calve and finish 180 head of beef annually.

Teresa has a partial appointment with the Extension Local Foods Team so she can share her expertise in food system development, food hubs, on-farm food safety and Group GAP, and Farm to School.

Contact Teresa at this email.

Food Systems Specialist

Kayla Koether is a Food Systems Specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in six counties in northeast Iowa. Kayla grew up near McGregor on a rotational grazing farm, where she got hooked on local, healthy food and regenerative farming systems. Her grazing passions led her to study International Agriculture and Rural Development at Grinnell College, which allowed her to travel to India and Mongolia and learn about agriculture and pastoralism abroad. Upon returning to NE Iowa, she served as an AmeriCorps member with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, and worked in local energy with the Winneshiek Energy District. When she’s not thinking about food,  farming, and revitalizing rural Iowa, you can catch her doing yoga, playing music, horseback riding, or reading.  Kayla has a partial appointment with the Extension Local Foods Team and specializes in beginning farmer education and outreach.

Contact Kayla at this email.


Arlene is one of the team’s evaluators. Arlene grew up in on a small, diversified farm in near Fertile, Iowa. She received undergraduate degrees from Iowa State University in agricultural biochemistry and agronomy and later received a master’s degree in rural sociology from the University of Missouri. Between degrees she spent five years working in community development in the Dominican Republic, where she gardened with children and opened a women’s center. She and her husband also own and operate an apple orchard in northeast Iowa, where they live.


Communications Intern

Hannah is an undergraduate student at Iowa State University pursuing a major in Agriculture and Society. She is focused on increasing outreach and awareness of local foods through different communications strategies.

Hannah is also researching societal perceptions of genetically modified crops and foods, as an undergraduate research assistant in Iowa State University’s Department of Sociology. Additionally, she is an ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. She is from northeast Iowa and runs her own photography business. She is also involved with the Buford Foundation as a volunteer and camp counselor.

You can reach Hannah at this email.

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