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Plan designed to boost Iowa local food economy

By Staff | Jan 14, 2011

Plan designed to boost Iowa local food economy

AMES – A new statewide plan would boost the local food economy and increase opportunities for those who want to buy or sell Iowa-raised meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fruit, vegetables and other crops in local and regional markets.

The Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan has 34 recommendations, including creation of a state-level local food and farm program, education and training for producers and local food businesses, changes in state policy to benefit local food businesses, and data collection to track growth of local food sales.

The plan calls for a one-year state appropriation to hire a local food and farm state coordinator. In subsequent years, the position and cost to implement other recommendations would be supported by a voluntary Local Food and Farm Program Fund.

Among the 34 recommendations, only two require state appropriations. They are to:

  • Hire a statewide coordinator for a Local Food and Farm Program (to be supported by a voluntary funding mechanism after year one), and
  • Provide two years of support to Iowa’s Farm-to-School Program.

Other recommendations include:

  • Creation of a Local Food and Farm Program Fund to support local food programs from the sale of collectible local food posters, bumper stickers, stamps and license plates,
  • Business development and financial assistance for farmers and local food businesses,
  • Food and meat processing education and training programs,
  • Food safety education, and a pilot cost-share program for food safety audits,
  • Business training programs that target beginning, minority or transitioning farmers,
  • Data collection to assess progress and track state agency and educational institution purchases of local foods, and
  • Pilot incentive programs for five K-12 school districts and five health care facilities that serve Iowa produce.

To get a copy of the 63-page Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan, go to the Leopold Center website at www.leopold.iastate.edu/foodandfarmplan.html or request a copy by calling the Leopold Center office at (515) 294-3711.

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