We work with communities to evaluate their current local food system resources and determine projects to encourage community and economic development around local food.
Farmers Market Support
Farmers Markets serve as the front line for local food in our communities. These markets are often the first association most community members have with local growers, and they can serve as a powerful community building tool. Often, these markets are run by producers who, admittedly, don’t have time to develop programs or marketing during the market season, so we believe in creating community-based Boards or committees to help share the load with vendors throughout the year. We also have a regional Farmers Market Project Team as a part of our North Iowa Local Food Coalition who meet monthly to learn from each other, share resources, and develop joint projects that positively impact all partner markets. In 2017, we piloted Kids Farmers Market Cooking Classes and developed a Farmers Market Kids Cooking Class Toolkit that can be used by other markets attempting to host their own cooking classes. For more information on Farmers Market support, contact Marie.
Farm to Fork Events
Agri-tourism event such as Farm to Fork Dinners or Fresh on the Farm tours spark conversation and ideas around what a strong local food system could look like in your community. These events are about raising awareness for what products are currently available, and opening attendee’s minds to what opportunities exist. And of course, these events are a great time for those who participate! We work with interested partners to plan and implement these events, including sharing our Farm to Fork and Fresh on the Farm event planning guides.
Each community we work in is different. Different resources. Different partners. Different interests. We believe in meeting communities where they are at, and lifting up what their dreams are for local food offerings. Our role is to bring partners to the table who might have never had the opportunity to collaborate – maybe that is bringing a local restaurant owner together with a teacher from the local high school and discussing how they could do a field trip. Or maybe it’s introducing local farmers and main street restaurants. The possibilities are endless, but it’s about readiness and building trust. We lend our technical support and experience to develop partnerships to make things happen.