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Local foods organization works on mission statement

By Staff | Oct 16, 2009

By KEN BLACK/for Farm News

MARSHALLTOWN – What words should most represent the goals and mission of a local food system program?

That was the main question posed at a local food system organizational meeting last week in this Marshall County community.

The meeting focused on formulating a mission statement for the proposed program. Words related to foods, such as fresh, healthy nutritious and delicious, were thrown out at a group brainstorming session. Then, words related to business were offered, such as profitable, regulated and security.

”These are a lot of words,” said Penny Brown-Huber, who runs the Grow Your Small Market Farm business development program. ”The purpose of these words is to come up with a vision statement and mission statement.”

The groups all formed mission statements and vision statements around the concept provided. Brown-Huber said she would work to put those statements into one comprehensive statement that may further be fine-tuned by a leadership team yet to be formed.

”I think we’re going to have something really great to work with,” she said.

To whet the appetite for what was possible through a local foods system, Andrea Geary, program operations coordinator for the Northern Iowa Food & Farm Partnership, explained what that program has accomplished the past 12 years since its inception.

She presented a slide indicating $100,000 in local food expenditures for participating organizations the first year. Last year, that amount jumped to $2.4 million.

”There are a lot of others that aren’t documenting with us, so we’re pretty proud of those stats,” Geary said.

She also noted one local restaurant, Rudy’s Tacos, who documented approximately 70 percent of its food purchases came from local sources.

The connection with local producers fosters cooperative efforts, she said. For example, the taco restaurant can project what it will need from its producers and let them know how much to plant.

”This helps them [farmers] because they are not going in blind,” Geary said.

Contact Ken Black at (641) 753-6611 or by e-mail at kblack@timesrepublican.com.

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