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ISA Introduces Food & Family Project

By Staff | Apr 13, 2011

Jim Hallihan, executive director of the Iowa Games, addresses the media and several guests Wednesday during a press conference announcing that the Iowa Food and Family Project is the new presenting sponsor of the Iowa Games. Iowa Food and Family project is a new initiative of the Iowa Soybean Association.

__During its 25th year of operation, the Iowa Games has a new presenting sponsor, the Iowa Food and Family Project.__

Iowa Food and Family Project is a new initiative of the Iowa Soybean Association and funded by the soybean checkoff. The new partnership was announced at a press conference Wednesday at the Altoona Hy-Vee that featured Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa Sports Foundation Executive Director Jim Hallihan and Aaron Putze, director of external relations for the Iowa Soybean Association.

The Iowa Sports Foundation is the nonprofit group that organizes the Iowa Games, an amateur sports festival held each summer in Ames since 1987. In its 25th year, the Iowa Games expects to attract 15,000 athletes competing in 50 events. Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson will be the featured speaker at the 2011 opening ceremony this summer.

“Iowa really has an opportunity to become a leader in terms of wellness and health. I’m looking forward to the future as Iowa Games and Iowa Food and Family Project team up. It’s a great team,” said Branstad, during his brief remarks.

“Our goal is always to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. Iowa Food and Family Project fits right in to what we’re doing,” Hallihan said.

Gov. Terry Branstad addresses the media Wednesday during a press conference announcing that the Iowa Food and Family Project is the new presenting sponsor of the Iowa Games. Iowa Food and Family Project is a new initiative of the Iowa Soybean Association

Putze said Iowa Food and Family Project has a “long-term commitment” as the presenting sponsor of the Iowa Games, but the exact dates as sponsor have not been finalized. He emphasized it will be multiple years of a financial commitment but declined to disclose how much the Iowa Soybean Association is spending in soybean checkoff dollars.

Iowa Food and Family Project has a mission of inspiring positive and enduring relationships between farmers and consumers, Putze said. He said research shows a disconnect between Iowa farmers and Iowa food consumers as fewer and fewer Iowans are directly involved in the farming operation.

“Seventy percent of Iowans admit to knowing nothing about what Iowa farm families do. Iowans have sincere questions as it relates to food safety,” Putze said. “Iowa Food and Family Project is focused on consumer engagement and agriculture awareness. It is a very collaborative effort,” he said.

Putze said Iowa Soybean Association leaders approved funding for the Iowa Food and Family Project in the summer of 2010 and later decided the Iowa Games organization was a good match with their mission. “The Iowa Games and Iowa’s farm families have a tradition of excellence and both will continue to grow and excel,” Putze said, in a release.

The Iowa Games will be among the advocacy and education events for the Iowa Food and Family Project. “We will have a tremendous presence there at the opening of the Iowa Games. Close to 200,000 Iowans are involved in the summer games and Live Healthy Iowa,” Putze said. The Iowa Food and Family Project also plans to have “an innovative presence” at the Iowa State Fair, he said.

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