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Iowa State University Extension

Coalition adds value, economic development -- and a Kellogg Grant -- to northeast Iowa

food market

Northeast Iowans are long-time supporters of locally grown foods and are developing market infrastructure for niche and highly differentiated products. They’re doing this through the Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition (NIFF) in Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties. ISU Extension has been a catalyst for bringing people together around economic development goals in the five-county area. Already the project has gained recognition from the Leopold Center and a $500,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation.

The NIFF Coalition believes diversification can help farmers and rural economic development. They believe they can add value locally with new storage and processing facilities. The coalition has been hard at work getting this done. 

In fact, Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Regional Food System Working Group named the NIFF Coalition as their pilot community for local food system development. The coalition and its producers have been awarded funding to cover expansion costs of planting new crops, building greenhouses and expanding processing capabilities of local food cooperatives.

ISU Extension helped the coalition compete successfully for a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant that takes advantage of what has begun in NIFF. The coalition will use the half-million dollars to help communities embrace active living and healthy eating.

Learn more about the NIFF Coalition. For more information about the W.K. Kellogg food and fitness grant, contact Brenda Ranum at (563) 382-2949 or

This article appeared in May 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter