Our Food Systems Team supports the development of thriving local food systems statewide, in partnership with county extension staff and many other collaborators.
Our clients: Community coalitions, educators, non-profits, county extension staff
Community Food Systems Program (formerly Ag Urbanism)
- Coalition development: We provide review and compilation of a business feasibility study for startups, new product development, or businesses wanting to diversify into another product or marketplace.
- Community food system assessment: Our team evaluates the existing conditions of the community-based food system sectors and how those aspects relate to community food system program values.
- Public input sessions: We host a meeting to hear from residents about what food system changes they would like to see in their community. Our creative session includes visual aids and several survey questions.
- Technical assistance: Communities may have already decided on 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 and technical assistance for projects ranging from market and brand promotion to landscape or building assessment and schematic design.
- Certifications: We offer two certification programs that are a combination of in-person workshops and online modules. Local Food Leader provides individual skill development for engagement in food systems. Community Food Systems teaches a strategic process for design and development of food systems.
- Local food procurement: Our team assists early childhood and K-12 food service directors in identifying and sourcing locally grown food for their meal programs. Support includes training in food safety, meal planning, and more.
- School gardens and classroom activities: In partnership with FoodCorps Iowa and the National Farm to School Network, we work with early childhood and K-12 educators across the state to develop classroom and gardening activities to encourage students to develop healthy eating habits.
- Iowa CSA Directory and Iowa Food Hub Directory: Our staff maintains the only statewide directory of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and a directory of food hubs operating in Iowa.
Our Food Systems Team is led by Courtney Long, (515) 460-3227.
Other team members include: Kaley Hohenshell and Bre Miller (community food systems); Teresa Wiemerslage and Chelsea Krist (farm to school/farm to institution); and Lisa Bates (Iowa Retail Initiative, interior design strategies).