ISU Local Food Festival: An Adventure in Eating and Community

An Adventure in Eating and Community is an annual festival celebrating local food and healthy living. The event takes place each September on the sidewalk between Beardshear and Curtiss Halls in central campus. It began in 2015 as a collaboration among the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program, ISU Dining, ISU’s Live Green! Initiative, the ISU Sustainable Agriculture Student Association, and other partners.

Attendees can expect to find educational displays, food samples, recipes using local foods developed by Iowa State dining chefs, and locally grown and produced products for sale by area vendors and ISU clubs.

crowd at campus festival“The opportunity to showcase how easy it is to eat healthy is something our chefs really enjoy,” explains Karen Rodekamp, food service manager at Iowa State University.

The festival features food samples of recipes prepared by campus chefs using fresh-picked produce from the ISU Horticulture Research Station north of Ames.

Thousands attend

Festival coordinator Emily Paull of the FFED Program staff says around 2,500 students and faculty normally attend the half-day festival.

The event features tent displays on growing, raising and incorporating local foods into diets, as well as empowering healthy lifestyles, and sustainability-focused activities to engage students, faculty and staff, helping them make a connection with Ames and nearby communities. ISU Recreation Services offers free bike tune-ups during the festival.

Through the Farm-to-ISU program, the campus dining service has steadily increased purchases of local, organic, and alternatively produced agricultural products from farmers and businesses within a 250-mile radius of Ames.

According to the USDA’s definition, a product can be marketed as locally or regionally produced if its end-point purchase is within 400 miles from its origin, or within state boundaries. However, most retailers, restaurants or food services often define local to be on a smaller scale or within 100–150 miles.

Sponsors and vendors




For more information on the festival, including becoming a vendor or sponsor, email the FFED office, or call us at 515-294-3086.

Helpful links:

Iowa CSA Directory

Supporting Local Food System Development in Your Community