What is the Regional Food Systems Working Group of Iowa?

Representatives from groups across Iowa meet quarterly to discuss and coordinate efforts to build more vibrant regional food systems by:

  • Assessment/Mapping: Identifying the key elements found in specific geographic areas that create a vibrant and sustainable regional food system.
  • Community Capacity-Building: Working with leaders and food businesses in specific geographic areas and/or communities to identify and support the key elements that are not yet well developed.
  • Evaluation: Helping to identify and measure key indicators that determine whether there is positive change in the regional food system as a result of projects or programs.
  • Professional Development/Training: Developing and implementing a process for continuous learning across Iowa about what it takes to make a regional food system more vibrant and sustainable.

What is a Regional Food System
A regional food system supports long-term connections between farmers and consumers while helping to meet the health, social, economic and environmental needs of communities within that region. Producers and markets are linked via efficient infrastructures that:

    • promote environmental health;
    • provide competitive advantages to producers, processors and retailers;
    • encourage identification with a region’s culture, history and ecology; and
    • share risks and rewards equitably among all partners in the system.

RFSWG Steering Committee:

Aubrey Alvarez – Local Food Coordinator (Des Moines)
Carolyn Scherf – Local Food Coordinator (Dubuque)
Shanti Sellz – Local Food Coordinator (Johnson County)
Teresa Wiemerslage – Local Food Coordinator (NE IA)
Jami Haberl – Healthiest Iowa Initiative
Christine Hradek – SNAP Ed/ ISU
Donna Matlock – Iowa Department of Education

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