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Statewide program seeks local food project ideas

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 11:44 a.m. CDT

AMES — The Local Food and Farm Program is looking for a few good ideas that will help put more Iowa-grown products on dinner plates and more money in the pockets of Iowa farmers.

The purpose of the program, established by the Iowa Legislature in 2011, is to increase the production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of local food in Iowa. The program also outlines the need to increase profitability and the number of jobs all along the local food chain.

“We would really like to see projects that help establish a new local food business, such as food hubs or collaborative marketing networks, or projects working with beginning, minority or transitioning farmers,” said Craig Chase, who coordinates the statewide program for ISU Extension and oversees related projects at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. “Projects that help us better understand what leads to successful farm-to-school, farm-to-institution or school gardens also would be considered.”

Chase encourages Iowa nonprofit organizations, farm groups and educational institutions to submit proposals for potential funding by the program. Projects must be for one year, beginning in January 2013, and limited funds are available.

Exactly what should be included in the proposal is outlined in Local Food and Farm Program’s Request for Proposals (RFP). Deadline is November 29, 2012.

For more information about the program, and a copy of the RFP, visit the Leopold Center website at: www.leopold.iastate.edu/content/local-food-and-farm-program.

Chase works with a team of six educators throughout Iowa on the Local Food and Farm Program. A six-member Local Food and Farm Program Council, appointed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, advises the team on program directions.

The program is following a set of recommendations from the Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan, prepared by the Leopold Center for the Iowa Legislature in January 2011.

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