Community Food Systems Annual Event

Our Community Food Systems Program (formerly the Ag Urbanism Toolkit) began hosting an annual event in 2015. Held in winter, this daylong event lifts up best practices around the nation within all areas of community food systems. Come learn, engage, and discuss ways to promote community engagement, collective action, and food systems projects including edible landscapes, food hubs, shared-use kitchens, and more.

This gathering is meant to build up our partners and promote collaboration, sharing and networking for creative and collaborative projects.

Come learn about others’ good work, and share your experiences and projects through the lightning round and poster session. There will be plenty of time for open space for dialogue and brainstorming.

Click on the tabs below to see information on this year’s event, and presentations and other resources from past annual events.

sentations and other resources from past annual events.


Save the date! The 5th Community Food Systems Annual Event is set for Thursday and Friday, January 9 and 10, 2020, at the West Des Moines Marriott. Two pre-conference workshops take place January 9: a Local Food Leader train-the-trainer, and a Business Model Canvas workshop.

The community food systems event on January 10 will feature keynotes, open space, breakouts and poster session presentations.

The 2020 theme is food entrepreneurship and inclusive partnerships. If you are engaged in local food systems, we invite you to participate, engage, support, and inspire ways to enhance our collective involvement in this work.

We are accepting presentation and poster proposals through October 25. Submit your proposal for a breakout session or poster here.


Our 2019 Community Food Systems Program annual event took place Friday, March 29, at the Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center, 5000 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines.

Keynote speakers included Sommer Sibilly-Brown of the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, Inc., and Arthur Neal, Jr., of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Workshop topics ran the gamut from developing curriculum to teaching through the arts to using GIS mapping to assist in the development of community food systems.

Click the links below to access resources and videos from the conference.


Speaker bios


Video: Sommer Sibilly-Brown’s keynote, “Capacity Building” (40 min.)

Video: 10-state panel of food systems advocates discussing certification program pilot (45 min.)

Video: Arthur Neal, Jr.’s keynote, “What’s Happening in Local Foods?” (28 min.)

Video: Mapping and Technology panel session (45 min.)

Video: Food Systems Curriculum and Certification panel session (1 hr. 49 min.)