ISU Hosted Certifications

National LFL and CFS cohorts offered virtually and organized by Iowa State University. Links are provided below with each course description, along with schedules and registration links. A limited number of scholarships are available for each course.

Questions? Contact Kaley Hohenshell.


Registration for Fall 2022 Local Food Leader has closed. To register for spring or fall 2023, click the registration links below.

Virtual Local Food Leader (LFL)

Virtual-only cohorts offered twice a year in the spring and fall. Register at the links below.

Local Food Leader 101: Seven virtual workshop sessions over the course of four months. Participants who complete the LFL 101 course will receive a certificate of completion in Local Food Leader. Cost is $100.

Local Food Leader 201: Seven virtual workshops (same as LFL 101) taught over the course of four months and includes access to four online modules that compliment workshop curriculum: community food systems overview, methods of engagement and leadership, creating teams and tools for success, and evaluation. Participants who complete the LFL 201 course will receive a certificate of completion in Local Food Leader and are eligible to participate in the Local Food Leader Train the Trainer to teach the course in their respective communities. Cost is $375.


Local Food Leader Train the Trainer

Train the Trainer workshops are offered annually in the spring in conjunction with the Community Food Systems Annual Event. Register at the link below.

As a certified Local Food Leader trainer, you can teach, host and conduct online module grading and attend quarterly trainer cohort meetings. New trainers have a one-time fee of $200 and following, there is an annual $100 fee. If you are unable to dedicate time to offering Local Food Leader in your community but would like to stay engaged with quarterly trainer cohort meetings and annual Train the Trainer, there is a “cohort only” option with an annual fee of $50.


Virtual Community Food Systems (CFS)

Virtual-only cohorts are offered once a year, beginning in the spring. Register at the links below.

Community Food Systems 101: Nine virtual workshop sessions over the course of eight months. Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion in CFS 101. Cost is $200.

Community Food Systems 201: Nine virtual workshops (same as CFS 101) taught over the course of eight months and includes access to seven online modules that compliment workshop curriculum: visioning and implementation, conducting community food systems assessments, mapping for decision-making, tools for project management and evaluation, feasibility studies, economic impact, and design thinking. Participants who complete the CFS 201 course will receive a certificate of completion in CFS 201 and are able to participate in one-on-one or team consultations with trainers, post-certification. Cost is $600.

For participants who do not wish to be certified in all areas of the CFS curriculum, there are options of completing modules for assessments only or facilitation only. Please reach out to Kaley Hohenshell for more information, kaleyh@iastate.edu.


Technical Assistance Modules

Self-paced modules offered year-round. Register at the links below.

The Community Food Systems certification also offers four, self-paced technical assistance modules. Design Thinking, Economic Impact Analysis, Feasibility and Mapping 101 are offered as separate certifications and are meant to provide additional skills for technical assistance in Phase 2 of the Community Food Systems program, or other projects that you may be involved in in your community.

Some technical assistance modules are included in other CFS certifications. See below for more information.


Mapping 101

Mapping 101 is appropriate for individuals interested in understanding how to create maps for decision making and building new skills in QGIS for data and map development. Mapping 101 is offered as a separate certification but is included in the Community Food Systems and CFS Assessor certifications.

Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion in Mapping 101. Individual module cost is $75.


Into to Design Thinking

Participants in this course will receive access to CFS Module 1: Introduction to Community Food Systems and Design Thinking. Introduction to Community Food Systems teaches the Community Food Systems process utilized at Iowa State. Design Thinking teaches methods and practices for site observation, considerations for creative techniques for project development and various potentials of design related to food systems.

Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion in Design Thinking. Individual module cost is $30.


Intro to Feasibility Analysis

Participants in this course will receive access to CFS Module 1: Introduction to Community Food Systems and Feasibility Analysis. Introduction to Community Food Systems teaches the Community Food Systems process utilized at Iowa State. Feasibility Analysis introduces concepts and types of feasibility studies. It teaches best practices for identifying existing business data and partnership considerations to keep in mind when starting a feasibility study.

Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion in Feasibility Analysis. Individual module cost is $30.


Intro to Economic Impact

Participants in this course will receive access to CFS Module 1: Introduction to Community Food Systems and Economic Impact. Introduction to Community Food Systems teaches the Community Food Systems process utilized at Iowa State. Economic Impact teaches a practice for conducting economic impact analysis studies which may be used for businesses, organizations or communities. Economic Impact module first reviews a tutorial for conducting an economic impact analysis of a food hub; following, participants will conduct their own study based on a project of interest. Data utilized in this module are updated regularly based on state census information.

Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion in Economic Impact. Individual module cost is $30.


Learn more about the history and focus of the ISU Community Food Systems program.