For Iowa’s food hubs, networking leads to solutions

by Kayla Koether
Food Systems Specialist

 

More and more, locally grown food graces the grocery lists of Iowans looking to support their local economy and purchase fresh, source-verified products. While local food is becoming accessible in more venues, most consumers don’t realize that many small food businesses are working very hard behind the scenes (and doing so in partnership with non-profits and extension) to bring those products to the marketplace. Their goal: to support more farmers and make local food accessible to a wider range of consumers. Continue reading

Double Up Food Bucks Program Expands in Iowa

(From news reports) Iowa’s statewide healthy food incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks is expanding to 13 sites across 8 counties this summer. A program led by the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Double Up Food Bucks increases low-income shoppers’ purchasing power for fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers. With Double Up, SNAP recipients can use their EBT cards at the market, and receive a matching number of Double Up Food Bucks (up to $10 per day). They may use the SNAP benefits to buy any SNAP-eligible items at the market, and use the Double Up Food Bucks for any locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Continue reading

WCDI Biz Booster/Ag-Mini Grant Winners

Winneshiek County Development’s Biz Booster Challenge and Ag-Mini Grant programs were a great success this year awarding small businesses approximately $17,000 in grant funds. A variety of projects were supported by the programs including a wood-fire pizza establishment at a local farm, the purchase of over 60 pear trees for a new local brewery and additional Pilates equipment for an established Pilates studio.Awarded businesses were Discover Happy Pilates Studio of Decorah, Northeast Iowa Architectural Salvage and Skrap Work of Ridgeway, Highlandville Honey, River Root Farm of Decorah, PIVO Brewery of Calmar and Luna Valley Farm of Decorah. Continue reading

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