Food and Environment Programs

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Regional and Local Foods

Local food production is rapidly growing in the Midwest to address the increasing demand for locally produced fruits, vegetables, and animal products. These farming operations typically are smaller with lower capital and provide opportunities for new farmers to get started or existing farms to diversify their operation. Programs address strategic and tactical decisions, as well as the day-to-day production and marketing decisions for these farms.

Branding Your Region - Food, Farms & Attracting Visitors

Participants will understand how telling the story of their farm helps to build relationships that attract visitors and increase food sales. Participants will understand the importance of branding and how agritourism plays a role in marketing the food and farm products of a region.

Commercial Winegrape Production and Wine Making

Understand the commercial winegrape and wine making industry in Iowa and the basic skills of growing and marketing winegrapes and managing a winery in Iowa.

Fruit and Vegetable Production

Fruit and vegetable growers will enhance their crop management skills and learn of the latest and innovative research in fruit and vegetable crop production.

High Tunnel Fruit and Vegetable Production Workshops

Participants learn the basic and advanced principles required to successfully build, purchase, and grow fruits and vegetables in high tunnels. Each participant receives resources and assistance to help him or her succeed in high tunnel production.

Horticulture Troubleshooting Services

Extension specialists assist horticulture professionals and consumers in evaluating important management decisions.

Iowa Local Food Systems

Increase the number and variety of local products available, consumer demand; capacity to process and distribute local products; access by limited resource families, state and federal agencies support; number of beginning farmers; and number of farms using sustainable farming practices.


Participants will identify constraints to selling into commercial local foods markets such as restaurants, grocery stores, wholesale and commercial food distribution systems. With a better understanding of these constraints producers will develop business strategies for selling dairy, fruits, meats and vegetables into these markets.

Master Gardener Program

Participants will gain knowledge about growing plants in and around the home landscape. Participants are expected to volunteer in their local communities to assist ISU Extension and Outreach in educating the public about horticulture and gardening practices for Iowa and the Midwest.

On Farm Food Safety Workshop Series

Level 1: Producers will be able to identify food safety best practices within pre- and post- harvesting of fruit and vegetables. Producers will be able to identify the food regulations that affect them. Level 2: Producers will learn how to document their food safety practices. Producers will learn about the additional markets they can sell to and the requirements for those markets.

Small and Niche Farm Planning, Management, and Marketing

Improve success of farms selling through farmers markets and directly to consumers and wholesalers by understand planning, goal setting, action plans, and strategies for relationship marketing.