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.

NE IA RC&D assisted partners from five county area of Northeast Iowa with development and writing of a W.K.Kellogg grant. The grant, which was awarded, funded the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. NE IA RC&D is administering the planning grant and assisting with implementation....

This project provides assistance to GROWN Locally producers to develop a stronger local foods system through the expansion and modeling of cooperative food processing, marketing and delivery. Many restaurants have expressed an interest in increasing their purchase of local foods. Several institutions, including schools and...

NE IA RC&D provides technical assistance for the Women, Land and Legacy Programs in Winneshiek and Clayton Counties. The number of women involved in agriculture continues to increase according to the 2002 Census of Agriculture. The census shows that the number of women principal farm...

The RC&D began a partnership in 2001 with Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, the Coulee Region Organic Producers Pool (CROPP) in LaFarge, Wisconsin, and various dairy and beef producers from NE Iowa and SW Wisconsin. The partnership focused on researching CLA, a unique fatty...