Project Produce

Local Food Resources

Resources Connecting Producers & Buyers

Buyer Supplier, run by Prosperity Eastern Iowa.  A web-based program for businesses that connects both buyers and sellers in Eastern Iowa to promote and facilitate regional purchasing.  The goal of Buyer Supplier is to encourage businesses to make 5% of their purchases from regional providers, shifting dollars back into the regional economy.  Businesses of all types and sizes are encouraged to take part in the program, from small organic produce farmers to large corporations.


Iowa State MarketMaker and University of Illinois MarketMaker.  MarketMaker is a national partnership of land grant institutions and state departments of agriculture dedicated to the development of a comprehensive interactive database of food industry marketing and business data.  MarketMaker is a platform that seeks to foster business relationships between producers and consumers of food industry products and services.


Local Dirt.  A searchable database of producers.  This database allows purchaser, including both individuals and wholesale buyers, to search for sources of local food.


Tri-State Area Research and Plans

Highland Quick Freeze Feasibility Study.  Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program.  This is a proprietary study.


Southern Wisconsin Food Hub Feasibility Study.  Dane County Planning and Development Department.  September, 2011.  Explores the opportunities and challenges of developing a food hub facility in Dane County, analyzing the results of several surveys and studies conducted to explore this subject.  They found that demand is greater than supply and outline a detailed plan for developing a feasibility study, including desirable crops, policies to encourage participation from growers and buyers, facility features and services, and an intended business model.


Southwest Wisconsin Poultry Processors Survey.  UW-Extension.  April 2011.  A report on a 2011 survey designed to assess current and future poultry production in Southwestern Wisconsin, as well as challenges to growth among existing and potential poultry producers in the region.  The survey was part of a processing facility feasibility study conducted by Green Link Consulting and University Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.


Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan.  Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.  January 2011.  Provides a good overview of local foods in Iowa.  Contains 34 unique recommendations grouped in 3 main sections — recommendations for state appropriations, recommendations to create a Local Food and Farm Advisory Board and a Local Food and Farm Program Fund, and recommendations related to operation of the Plan business development models.


Exploring Small-Scale Meat Processing Expansion in Iowa.  A technical report by Iowa State University examining the potential benefits that might occur if Iowa’s smaller meat processors are able to increase their production of meat products for local consumption.


Building Successful Food Hubs: A Business Planning Guide for Aggregating and Processing Local Food in Illinois.  A review of best practices for developing aggregation and processing centers and food hub businesses.


Local & Regional Food Systems


Creating Change in the Food System: The Role of Regional Food Networks in Iowa.  An analysis of the Regional Food Systems Working Group and its effects on building local and regional food systems in Iowa.  The authors use collective impact as a lens for analysis.


Scaling Up: Meeting the Demand for Local Food.  UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, January 2010.  By analyzing case studies of 11 local food entrepreneurs  CIAS studied challenges to move local food into mainstream markets.  Beginning with an overview of general challenges and solutions, this report moves on to introduce case studies and the challenges they faced and lessons learned.


Tiers of the Food System: A New Way of Thinking about Local and Regional Foods.  UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, September 2010.  Provides a framework for examining the food system to better understand production and consumption relationships.


Direct and Inter-mediated Marketing of  Local Food in the United States.  USDA, Economic Research Service, November 2011.  This study uses nationally representative data on marketing of local foods to assess the relative scale of local food marketing channels.


Distribution Models for Local Foods.  UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, July 2009.  A map of various distribution models in the US.


Local and Regional Food Systems for Rural Futures.  Rural Policy Research Institute, 2010.  Provides a general overview of local and regional food systems, including a discussion distinguishing between “local” and regional”.  Also discusses changes in the overall US food system, followed by a triple bottom line analysis of the challenges in the US food system.  The benefits and challenges of local and regional food systems are explored.  The report closes with a very broad overview of food system policy and possible directions research can take.


The Case for Local and Regional Food Marketing.  Farm & Food Policy Project.  An overview of the benefits of local and regional foods, concluding with a number of broad policy suggestions for supporting local and regional food systems.


USDA Regional Food Hub Resource Guide.  Provides a general overview of regional food hubs, including what they are, what common features they have, and how they fit into their regional communities and food systems.  This guide does a good job of covering food hub impacts, as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.  It closes with an inventory of resources available to support regional food hub development, including federal government support and potential sources of funding.  The Appendix has a map of regional food hubs and wholesale markets and an overview of selected food hub case studies.


Slow Money Wisconsin.  A regional food system assessment conducted by Slow Money and California Environmental Associates.


Pricing & Market Feasibility


Selected Measures of the Economic Values of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption in the Upper Midwest.  This research considers the potential statewide and regional economic values that might accumulate to farmers and regional economies if there was an increase in the production of 28 types of fresh fruits and vegetables for local consumption.  The states studied were Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.


Is Local Food More Expensive?  A Consumer Price Perspective on Local and Non-Local Foods Purchased in Iowa.  A report on consumer market research examining what Iowa consumers pay for locally grown products and how these prices compare to non-local market channel prices.


Local Foods in Iowa: Increased Opportunities for Economic Growth.  A snapshot of research findings indicating the potential economic benefits of increased local food production and consumption in Iowa.


Production & Sales Tools


US Food Market Estimator.  The US Food Market Estimator is designed to help users determine the potential demand, by county in the US, for more than 200 different food items.  This is an expansive tool, using data collected each year by the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS).


Grower’s Manual: A Template for Grower Cooperatives.  This manual serves as a model for cooperatives and regional food systems groups regarding standards for pre- and post-harvest practices and product specifications.


Post-Harvest Handling and Cooling of Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Flowers for Small Farms.  North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, 1995.  Discusses the importance of proper post-harvest handling and provides recommendations to minimize damage.


Food Miles


Assessing Fuel Efficiency and CO2 Emissions of Two Local Food Distribution Options in Iowa.  A study on which transportation option was most fuel-efficient and emitted less CO2, farmer delivery or customer pick-up of food for a CSA.  The study showed that farmer distribution is most environmentally-friendly and that fuel-efficient vehicles are most preferable.


Checking the Food Odometer: Comparing Food Miles for Local Versus Conventional Produce Sales to Iowa Institutions.  Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, July 2003.  This study calculated the average food miles for both locally grown and conventionally sourced produce using weighted average source distances (WASD) for approximately 16 different types of produce.


Case Studies


Case Studies Profile Mid-Scale Food Enterprises.  UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, July 2009.  Case studies of four innovative enterprises offering models of how mid-sized farms and ranches can prosper through producing and selling high-quality differentiated food products into a variety of markets.


Growing Local: Expanding the Western North Carolina Food and Farm Economy.  ASAP’s Local Food Research Center (LFRC) examines the social, economic, and environmental impacts of localizing food systems.  Their website has a number of food system assessments and reports specific to the southern Appalachian region.


Local Food Assessment for Northern Virginia.  This report explores infrastructure and product and service offerings that address the needs of stakeholders on both ends of the value chain in Northern Virginia.  The project hypothesis is that these needs could be met through the development of a packing house.


Western Lake Superior Food Assessment.  An analysis using GIS, ethnographic interviews, dietary interviews, and economic data to assess the opportunities for an increasingly regional food system in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.


Economic Challenges of Small-Scale Vegetable Production and Retailing in Rural Communities: An Example from Rural Oklahoma, Journal of Food Distribution Research, 2007.  A study to determine the feasibility of producing a variety of produce in rural Oklahoma.  The researchers determined that while there are consumers who will pay a premium for locally produced foods, there isn’t a large enough market to overcome production and harvest expenses.  Though their project experienced net losses, they cover a number of lessons learned from the experience.


Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Local Food Guide.  A free print and online directory to family farms, farmers’ tailgate markets, wineries, grocers, restaurants, caterers and bakers, farm stores and stands, farms to visit, B&Bs and farm lodging, apple farms, u-pick farms, CSAs, and distributors in the Southern Appalachians.


Research Centers


Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.  A sustainable agriculture research center based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.  A research and education center based at Iowa State University.  The Center was created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources.


Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.  A non-profit organization based in East Troy, Wisconsin with the mission to nurture the ecological, social, and economic resiliency of food and farming systems through education, research, policy, and market development.


Organizations, Networks, and Initiatives


Driftless Region Food and Farm Project.  A collection of farmers, consumers, and organizations working to expand the local food system in the four-state Driftless Region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois).


Wisconsin Local Food Network.  A network of individuals and organizations working to support local food businesses.  Their website includes a calendar of food-related events.


Midwest Sustainable and Organic Educational Service (MOSES).  An education-outreach organization working to promote sustainable and organic agriculture.


Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Project.  An initiative in northeastern Iowa working to transform local food and fitness systems through policy and system change projects.


Agriculture of the Middle.  A national initiative working to renew mid-scale farms, ranches, and related agrifood enterprises (“agriculture of the middle”).


Institutional Food Market Coalition.  An economic development program that facilitates local food sales by connecting large volume buyers, distributors, farmers, and local food businesses (valued added foods) through meetings, their website, e-news, and by providing technical assistance.


Northern Iowa Food and Farm Partnership.  An organization working to improve the economic viability and environmental sustainability of producers and communities throughout Iowa.


Learning about Local: A Resource Guide to Iowa Organizations and Programs Supporting Local and Regional Food Systems.  A directory of local and regional food system organizations in Iowa.


Are there resources we missed?  If so, please let us know.