Local food is food that is grown within a reasonable distance from where it is eaten. Exactly how local food is defined is as varied as the consumers that buy it. The commonality amongst local food consumers is a commitment to purchase food that ensures social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Buying local food reduces the number of "food miles" between farm and plate, and helps to keep agricultural profits in the local economy.
Frequently Asked Questions on Food Regulations for Small Market Food Producers, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Learning About Local: a Resource Guide to Iowa Organizations and Programs Supporting Local and Regional Food Systems, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Sustaining Local Food Systems
There are many local and national funding sources that have been utilized to develop community-based local food systems. The following list of “Best Practices” and "Case Studies" were developed from a North Central Regional Center for Rural Development Policy project that looked at how seven local food systems programs in the Midwest sought and utilized alternative funding to support their programs and projects.
Organizations Involved in Local/Regional Foods
- Beginning Farmer Program - Beginning farmers may be at early stages of their working life, mid-career, or retired from another occupation. No matter the path to a farming business or the type of farm enterprises involved, good information is important for the success of these new start-ups. The VAA Program has compiled resources to assist new producers in their efforts.
- Buy Fresh, Buy Local - organized through Practical Farmers of Iowa
- Drake University Agricultural Law Center
- Farm to ISU, Iowa State University Dining Services
- Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
- Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Value Added Agriculture Main Menu
- Business Development
- Signature Programs