Local Food and Farm Initiative starts second yearPosted: June 29, 2012
The statewide Local Food and Farm Initiative (LFFI) program has received a second year of funding from the Iowa Legislature. An allocation of $75,000 was included in the agriculture and natural resources budget approved by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.
Craig Chase, ISU Extension farm management specialist and interim marketing program leader at the Leopold Center, will continue as LFFI coordinator.
The program follows recommendations presented in the Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan, a year-long study conducted by the Leopold Center that outlined ways for Iowa to build a stronger local food economy. In April 2012, more than 130 people attended an Iowa Local Food Summit to discuss which of the plan's recommendations should be a priority for a second year of the program, if funding was approved.
Chase said the 2011 plan offered 29 operational recommendations in six areas. Although progress has been made by a diverse group of agencies, organizations, farmers and others, he said work next year will focus on three primary areas:
- Business Development and Financial Assistance through development of food hubs and aggregation of production;
- Beginning, Transitioning and Minority Farmers, specifically incubator farms, mentoring programs and processing kitchens; and
- Food Incentives, particularly support for school garden programs.
Another need discussed at the summit was a central place to share information. Chase said ISU Extension and Outreach would be developing a website, blog and other communication tools as early as January 2013.
Find the LFFI program's first-year report to the Iowa legislature on the web on the Leopold Center Pubs & Papers page: www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs