Professional development

Webinar archive

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Horticultural Crop Enterprise Budgets. Emily Coll of FFED leads an interactive session where she discussed the why’s and how’s of enterprise budgets and goes through a few budgets already completed. Participants learned about how budgets are different from whole farm financial records and how market outlets can drastically change profitability. (Recorded live April 9, 2020 by Iowa Farm Bureau; segment 1 20:55, segment 2 35:10; IFB website links.)

Racial Equity and Inclusivity in Food Systems. Tes Thraves of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) at North Carolina State University leads a discussion on challenges and strategies for how we and our organizations can and must address racial equity in our day to day work. (Recorded live February 21, 2019; 1:27:45; YouTube video.)

Farm Marketing Webinar. Lucie Amundsen of Locally Laid Egg Company shares her tips and strategies for successful farm marketing, including building your brand, successfully working with social media, and cultivating relationships with traditional media to earn free coverage of your business. (Recorded live October 25, 2018; 1:32:18; YouTube video.)

Farmers Market Management. Watch this webinar for a general overview of farmers markets in Iowa, resources available to managers, rules and regulations applicable to markets, and where to turn to for help in help in overcoming challenges or when seeking fresh promotional ideas. Presenters are Paul Ovrom, state horticulturalist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and former administrator for the Iowa Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and Jennifer DeFosse, manager of the Muscatine Area Farmers Market. Presenter contacts: Jennifer DeFosse,; Paul Ovrom, (Recorded live April 19, 2018; 1:26:14; YouTube video.)

Food Hubs 101. Learn why food hubs are a critical piece of the local food system, and how farmers and purchasers alike can benefit from working with a hub. Find food hubs in your area. Presenters are Savanna Lyons, program director at Refresh Appalachia in Charleston, WV (former a member of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Local Foods Program team) and Kayla Koether, a Local Foods Program team member who coordinates the Iowa Food Hub Managers Working Group. (Recorded live January 11, 2018; 1:13:15; YouTube video.)

Introduction to Farm to School. Presentations and discussion on how to engage with and support farm to school efforts in your community in Iowa, featuring Lynn Heuss, Teresa Wiemerslage, Chelsea Krist, Ann Torbert, Laura Liechty, Kate Olsen and Kaci Rausch. (Recorded live October 19, 2017; 1:30:02; YouTube video.)

Tips for Improving Communications and Outreach. Presentation and discussion on planning and implementing successful communications strategies in your local foods work, including social media, media relations, email marketing, and creating an elevator speech. Speakers are Greg Wallace, communications specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach Organizational Advancement, and Leigh Adcock, communications specialist for the Local Foods Program of ISU Extension and Outreach (now FFED). Click here for a list of links and resources (2 pp PDF). (Recorded live July 27, 2017; 1:01:07; YouTube video.)

Writing Successful Grants to Support Your Food Systems Work. Presentation and discussion on how to write a successful grant to support your local foods work, featuring grant writer Mary Swalla Holmes. Click here for Mary’s notes. (Recorded live April 27, 2017; 1:20:51; YouTube video.).

Food Systems Evaluation. Slide presentation on evaluation of local food systems programming, featuring Arlene Enderton and Corry Bregendahl, Local Foods Program evaluators. (From a webinar presented live on January 24, 2017, not recorded.)

Conflict Management. Presentation and discussion on types of conflict and different management approaches, featuring Ellen Anderson, from the Buena Vista Extension office. (Recorded live September 15, 2016; 59:51; YouTube video.)

Coaching Colleagues, Leaders, and Allies. Presentation and discussion on the value and practice of “peer coaching,” featuring Savanna Lyons, ISU graduate research assistant and former director of the statewide West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. (Recorded live August 4, 2016; 1:06:36; YouTube video.)

Meeting presentations

Click here for a list

Click the links below to view slide presentations on various topics, developed by FFED Program staff. PDF format.

For RFSWG presentations, click here.

Tools for local food systems professionals

Training opportunities

  • Local Food Leader Certification (ISU Extension and Outreach): a foundational practice certification that builds capacity for individual engagement within the food system. The certification develops individual skills including: building trust, facilitation, knowledge of the food system, evaluation techniques, leadership, plan of work development and professional development plans. Here is a two-page overview of the goals and curriculum of the Local Food Leader certification.
  • Community Food Systems Certification (ISU Extension and Outreach): a process-based certification that increases capacity for food system practitioners to work in and develop food systems. This certification will equip participants in various different skill sets and facilitation methods, as well as team building; participants will develop different strategies for decision-making, and will have the ability to bring projects from thinking to project implementation for reaching systems based goals. Here is a four-page overview of goals and curriculum of the Community Food Systems certification.
  • Learn more here about these certifications and other Community Food Systems resources.
  • Food Systems Core Competency Project (FFED and USDA AMS Cooperative Agreement). Between August and December 2019, partners worked collectively to identify core competencies needed for practitioners working in food systems, created a set of learning objectives for each competency, and identified existing curricula around the nation that met the objectives described.
More training programs
Program Structure and fee Summary
Sustainable Food Systems Certificate

University of Minnesota – Duluth

100% online

-> Certificate: $995 for 5 courses.

-> Individual courses: $239.

The certificate is designed for people who want to learn more about the major issues surrounding today’s food systems and what is needed to create sustainable food systems for the future.

Modules can be taken independently or together. Some of the topics include: Current Food Issues, History of Sustainable Agriculture, Genetically Modified Food, Climate Change and Food Production, Gender and Farming, U.S. Farm Bill, Food Policy, etc.

Leadership for Sustainable Food Systems Professional Certificate

University of Vermont

Online followed by a “residential learning experience” for 3–5 weeks.From

$1,772 (noncredit) to

$3,731 (for credits)

The program expects that students will be able to answer many important questions by the end of the four week course including: What are my personal leadership strengths and how can I recognize and help others apply their strengths meaningfully? What is systems thinking? How can I better articulate and measure my own personal and/or organizational goals? What are some emerging strategies, innovations, and/or practices that have a high potential for positive change.
Local Food Systems Graduate Course, and Professional Development Course, for Extension Agents

North Carolina State Extension

  This course is a comprehensive training program in local food systems focused toward an audience of Extension agents from all program areas. Participants will understand the benefits and challenges of localized food systems and be able to assess and act on the key leverage points of making food systems change in their counties. They will also learn to effectively lead or facilitate a collaborative process aligning local food system structures and components.
An introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from public health

John Hopkins University

7-week, free online course. Through several case studies, we will discuss some key historical and political factors that have helped shape the current food system and consider alternative approaches from farm to fork.  Topics include food security, food animal production, aquaculture, food waste, and the farm bill.
Growing Food 1 & 2 – Fundamentals Online
Gaia College (Canada)
Each course is $695. Courses are offered over a specific time frame (several times a year, but not self-paced), with “virtual classroom” interactions that allow structured activities.
Courses of interest include:
– Growing food 1: Fundamentals online
– Growing food 2: Advanced practices online
– Systems thinking online
Sustainable Local Food Certificate

St Lawrence College (Canada)


Online. $715 US, 1 academic year to complete. Field to Fork: Introduction to Local and Global Food Systems
– Food System Trends and Policy in Canada Today
– Understanding Sustainable Farming: Principles and Practices
– Between Farm and Table: Local Food Businesses and Cooperatives
– Food Security and Food Justice in Canada
– Urban Agriculture, Community Gardens, Food Secure Cities
Food Security Certificate

Ryerson University (Canada)

Online course, fees vary. This unique, fully online, leading-edge program explores food-related health and education issues, food policy, environmental sustainability, human rights, and alleviation of food insecurity.

Non-ISU webinars and resources

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Check out the following websites to watch useful webinars and access print resources.

Where to look for jobs

Click here for a list

Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement by FFED. These websites are provided only as a resource.

COMFOOD Jobs elist: an announcement service for employment, internships, and similar opportunities across the sustainable food system spectrum.  
Good Food Jobs: searchable search engine for jobs in the healthy food sector, both in and outside the US.
Sustainable Food Jobs: volunteer-run website listing job opportunities available in the domestic sustainable food and agriculture sector.

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