Grow the Local Food System

Northeast Iowa grows and consumes more local food that any other region of Iowa. Our local food system is complex and important to our local, regional, and state economies. It supports thousands of jobs and businesses, stimulates and diversifies our economy, and excites our taste buds! Our dedication to the local food system is expressed in our work with individuals, communities, and regional advisories groups. We provide assistance that no other organization provides to local producers, communities, and collaborative groups.

Specifically, we assist with research, planning, branding, market analysis, and marketing. We help producers secure grant funding for business start-up, expansion, and/or marketing. We have helped our producer entrepreneurs collectively secure more federal Value Added Producer Grants than most states have received. A Revolving Loan Fund is available through our organization for equipment and facilities purchases . We help start/expand processing facilities, including creameries, wineries, and meat processing facilities. We have formed and continue to work with and for regional consortiums, advisory councils and collaboratives that inform local food project planning and implementation.

When the W.K. Kellogg Foundation was looking to identify 9 communities in the nation to be involved in their Local Food and Fitness Initiative, they contacted Northeast Iowa RC&D to develop the regional application, which was subsequently funded, bringing millions of dollars to our region over a ten-year period. In 2014, we completed the first Northeast Iowa Regional Local Foods Expansion Plan, which we are now in the process of implementing. We are currently facilitating partnerships with the Northeast Iowa Farmers Market Advisory Council to maximize opportunities for growers and farmers markets across the region and the Northeast Iowa Grass Fed Producers Collaborative to brand and market Northeast Iowa’s grass fed products.

Time to get your hands on one of several new print publications here at the RC&D! Over the last few months our team of writers, planners, photographers, developers, and designers has worked with numerous partners across the region to put together a Fayette County Trout Fishing...

This one day conference will be take place on Thursday, February 9th, and will provide a great opportunity for those of you that are interested in maximizing the economic benefits of Farmers Market in your community. Northeast Iowa RC&D, NICC, The Depot Outlet, and the Northeast Iowa Tourism...

Northeast Iowa RC&D is frequently asked to help our partner entities develop maps, secure photographs, and write narratives for their natural, cultural, and historic resource publications and media. As with any marketing effort, materials must constantly be updated to ensure they are of the highest...

Northeast Iowa RC&D has developed culinary passports for the River Bluffs Scenic Byway, Driftless Area Scenic Byway, Grant Wood Scenic Byway and Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway! These passports will help you "Eat Your Way Along the Byways" by guiding you to experience unique dishes and...

Eleven farmers across Northeast Iowa participated in the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program through funds from the Farmers Market Promotion Program secured by the Iowa League of RC&Ds.   For this project, 11 producers were selected to have a professional photographer visit their farm.  They were...

Northeast Iowa RC&D recently completed the Northeast Iowa Local Food Expansion Plan. This plan includes goals and recommendations for organizations and individuals interested in expanding various aspects of the local food system to create a healthier and more vibrant local food based economy in Northeast...

Northeast Iowa RC&D, in partnership with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Google Data Centers Grants Fund of the Tide Foundation, is hosting website building workshops for local food producers and farmers across Iowa. Attendees receive one-on-one, hands-on training on how to create and...

NE IA RC&D assisted Eagles Landing Winery with their expansion into port production. The RC&D provided grant writing assistance for a Value Added Producer Grant as well as development of a business and marketing plan. The grant provided funding for production of the first Iowa...