Why is Iowa State University Extension and Outreach investing in local foods?

ISU Extension and Outreach’s mission is to help Iowans make informed decisions by applying relevant, needs‐driven resources, to create significant impact in our state.

Food systems are at the core of each of ISU’s four signature issues:

  • Food and the environment: supporting a safe, sustainable and
    Horticulture Field Day with Ajay Nair (https://www.extension.iastate.edu/vegetablelab)
    Horticulture Field Day with Ajay Nair.

    affordable food supply (diversified farms, sustainable food production).

  • Health and well-being: helping Iowa become the healthiest state in the nation (nutrition education, reconnecting children with food, edible landscapes).
  • Economic development: growing businesses and strengthening communities (creating jobs, creating opportunities for beginning farmers, reconnecting consumers with producers).
  • K12 youth outreach: preparing our young people for the future (farm to school, engaging youth).

Learn more about local foods at Iowa State University in Learning about Local at Iowa State University, a resource guide to all things local from ISU, from classes and clubs to Extension work and everything in between.

Examples of extension-led local food projects:

ISU Extension and Outreach county staff are already leading in local foods by:

  • Helping initiate farm-to-school and farm-to-institution projects
  • Initiating and participating in developing a local or regional food hub
  • Providing educational programing such as workshops on seasonal menu planning and cooking
  • Creating a regional food identity with branding and marketing campaign
  • Supporting the creation of an incubator farm for beginning farmers
  • Increasing food access for low-income populations by initiating and supporting garden donation efforts
  • Planning “farm crawls” showcasing local producers

Why now?

If you have any comments or suggestions about how ISU Extension and Outreach can support food systems work, please let us know by filling out this form!