Community Food Systems Event to Be Held Online in February

Retail and leadership are the focus of this year's event

January 4, 2021, 9:42 am | Breanna Miller

AMES, Iowa – The annual Iowa State University Community Food Systems Event will take place Friday, Feb. 12, online from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year’s event will focus on “Retail and Leadership Within Community Food Systems,” with experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The goal is lifting up best practices around the nation in all community food systems areas. Participants will engage and discuss ways to promote community engagement, collective action and food systems projects.

Picture of Todd Manly.The agenda includes a morning panel keynote from three food entrepreneurs: Todd Manly of Mutiny Island Vodka and Karla Fennessy of Quality Food (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) and Taufeek Shah of Lola’s Fine Hot Sauces (Des Moines).

Two afternoon breakout sessions will cover three topics: business and organizational tools, community food access and minority-owned business strategies. The closing keynote speaker is Debra Tropp, food systems consultant and former deputy director for local food research and development with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Cost is $20 and registration closes Feb. 5.

The registration link is

Preconference sessions

A "Local Food Leader Train the Trainer "workshop ($200 for new certification, $100 for recertification) and "Iowa Retail Initiative Champions" session ($85) also will be offered virtually on Friday, Feb. 5. Registration for preconference sessions closes Jan. 29; register at

  • The LFL Train the Trainer session is for people who have taken the Local Food Leader certification. This next-level training equips them to host Local Food Leader workshops in their own community.
  • Iowa Retail Initiative Champions, from the ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development program, is a coaching program designed to strengthen independent retail in Iowa communities. Attendees typically include planners and leaders in business development and anyone whose work supports small businesses.

For more information contact Bre Miller, program assistant with Farm, Food and Enterprise Development with ISU Extension and Outreach, at


Original image: Todd Manly, founder and CEO of Mutiny Island Vodka of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, is a keynote speaker for the 2021 ISU Community Food Systems Annual Event.

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