SILT Announces Farmer Vetting Policy

For more than two years, young and disadvantaged farmers around Iowa have been asking what SILT will require to farm its farms. Applicants with no long-term access to land but who have experience and a business plan will make the first cut. The SILT Farmer Committee deliberated extensively over issues of equity and historic imbalance as well, and reviewers are instructed to be cognizant of those issues when reviewing applications. Continue reading

Local Meat to Schools: FFI Case Study

Farm-to-school programs around the country have wrestled with the challenge of sourcing local meat. To explore this question, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in partnership with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative and Iowa Food Hub, sought to build a meat-to-school program in northeast Iowa. A new series of three publications provides highlights of the project’s successes and challenges, on the topics of sourcing products, working with pork producers and working with beef producers. Continue reading

Iowa communities examine their strengths and challenges in building local food systems

As demand for locally grown foods continues to rise, more Iowans are taking a look at the factors that affect the creation of expansion of local food systems in their communities. As the name implies, a local food system encompasses many factors, including producers, markets, nutritional education, institutional buyers such as schools and hospitals, built infrastructure, processing, and much more. Continue reading

New Pulper Reduces Food Waste at Luther College

 

In a collaborative project between the Center for Sustainable Communities and Luther College Dining Services, a food waste pulper was installed in the Cafeteria dish room over Winter Break to help divert more food waste to the compost. All food scraps (including meat and dairy products) can go through the pulper; moisture is removed and the scraps are turned into pulverized bits that break down much faster in our compost pile. Continue reading

IFH Receives Funds to Study Veggie Snack Processing

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has awarded grants for 21 new research and demonstration projects to begin this year. The grants will aid in the advancement of sustainable agriculture while protecting Iowa’s soil and water and help Iowa citizens increase the availability of locally grown foods. The new grants, totaling $1.4 million, are awarded through the Leopold Center’s four research initiatives: Ecology, Marketing and Food Systems, Policy, and Cross-Cutting. Continue reading

Farming the Web Builds Farm Business Capacity

Marketing is hard! And it can be even harder when you’re a full-time farmer running a local food business. Farmers will be the first to admit that they didn’t get into this line of work because they love creating brands, building websites or planning marketing strategies, but because they love growing good food for their neighbors. That’s why farmers are often short on this skill, and why folks in Region 4 identified it as a high-priority educational opportunity on NEIA Beginning Farmer Network surveys last fall. In response to their needs, we developed a full-day workshop entitled “Farming the Web; Managing the Gateway to Your Farm Business” with Ash Bruxvoort. Continue reading