Community Food Systems Program Menu of Services

Community Process (2-phased project, typically 2-3 years in length):

The Community Food Systems program is a multi-phased, three-year consultation and partnership with communities to develop and design their local and regional food system. The program is designed to:

  • develop trust and coalitions
  • research and assess existing conditions and goals of the health and food system context
  • design and implement priority projects related to the coalition’s mission and vision

Outputs and outcomes include:

Phase 1: Coalition development; developing a name, mission, vision, and core values along with logo design; public input session materials; community food system assessment; community food system snapshot; 4 or 5 priority projects determined for implementation in phase 2 (we suggest two quick-win projects, one intermediate, and one long-term project).

Phase 2: Design development and assistance in implementation of the 4 or 5 prioritized projects; project management and design; grant writing; and consultation with ISU faculty and staff experts as needed. The ISU Community Design Lab collaborates with the program in Phase 2 to deliver 220 hours of work that is divvied appropriately between projects for successful implementation.


  1. Coalition Development

It is critical for food systems and community development that community members agree upon a vision, mission, and core values; name recognition; and accountability. The development of a coalition assists in this process, as well as confirming what the coalition wants to make happen in the community. This includes understanding the reason behind why the group wants to exist: for example due to a local challenge, issue, or idea.

Outcomes include the development of a coalition, name for the group, collective mission, vision and core values, logo, and beginning brainstorming on next steps and what the coalition should do together.

2. Food System Assessment

In order to know what a coalition or community would like to see happen, it is critical to understand what already exists. The Food System Assessment evaluates the existing conditions of the community based food system sectors (production, transformation, distribution, consumption, and resource management) and how those aspects relate to community food system program values (education, policy, public health, built and natural environment, and the economy). Outputs include: Community Food System Assessment and Community Food Systems Snapshot. Includes one public input session (see description below).

3. Public Input Sessions

Creative ways to hear from the community about what residents would like to see in their community. The public input session hosted by the Community Food Systems program includes posters of tactics researched (24), a large 6′ x 6′ or 9′ x 9′ map, color coded stickers and postcards, as well as several survey questions. In addition, a Community Food Systems team member will participate in one input sessions to educate on the process.

4. Community Food System Design Development (cost varies based on application)

Communities may have already determined particular projects that fit with their coalition’s values and needs. In partnership with the Iowa State University Community Design Lab, the Community Food Systems Program offers design assistance for projects that can range from market and brand promotion, landscape or building assessment, and schematic design. Please download an application and share more about your proposed project, and the Community Design Lab or Program Coordinator will be in touch about feasibility and next steps.

Some project examples include:

  • Community gardens and orchards
  • Public edible landscapes
  • Collaborative or incubator Farms
  • Urban farms
  • Site assessments for project development: shared-use kitchens, processing facilities, etc.
  • Awareness campaigns
  • Branding and promotional materials
  • Community or site master plans
  • Program development and facilitation, workshop series, etc.

5. Community Food Systems Program Train-the-Trainer

This three-day training program includes printed materials, handouts, and support materials for bringing the Community Food Systems program to your community. If your organization, or collective of organizations in your state, are interested in learning more about how to develop local food systems, we are now offering a unique train-the-trainer for transferability of the Community Food Systems program.

The training will go through each phase of the program, processes for coalition development, creation of the food systems and health assessment, and how to develop a strategic, internal team to provide your communities with the capacity to develop unique food systems.

Outcomes include: pre- and post- follow up about training, packet of materials for the Community Food Systems program, training and understanding of how to implement this program in your state.

If you are interested in any of these services, please contact Courtney Long at this email.

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