Local foods and health

In January, 2016 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 were released. The guidelines provide dietary recommendations promote health and prevent chronic disease.

Local food and healthy eating

Safe food

The safety of food from farm to fork is a concern, as CDC estimates 48 million people in the United States experience a food-borne illness each year, resulting in about 3,000 deaths. Knowing where and how food is produced is an advantage for local food systems. Resources for consumers, foodservice operations and producers are available on ISU Extension and Outreach’s Food Safety website.

Food security

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life“. Local food systems may help improve food security by making local, fresh food available to local populations. Iowa imports over 80% of its food. Much of the produce we buy in Iowa is grown in California. Climate change affecting California and the world, has initiated frank discussions about where our produce will come from in the future.

For more information about food access, go here.

General nutrition information

Practicing good nutrition does not have to be complicated, but there are some basic principles to follow.

  • Balance calories with activity
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains
  • Choose fat-free or 1% milk
  • Choose foods that are low in sodium
  • Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks


Let’s Eat for the Health of It.

Key Nutrients.

Food Pantry Produce Donations: Grower Information.

More Resources


USDA’s Consumer Website on Farmers’ Markets.

Preserve the Taste of Summer Training.

ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart website.

Click this link to see what Americans ate on an average day, for the past several decades.

Useful contacts



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