New local foods webpage links consumers to farmers, local food resources

For Release: October 14, 2016

AMES, Iowa — Consumers looking to purchase local foods near them have a new resource in Practical Farmers of Iowa’s newly overhauled local foods webpage. The improved page, found at practicalfarmers.org/member-priorities/local-foods, features:

  • Comprehensive, searchable and sortable lists of Practical Farmers member farms and organizations located across Iowa that sell or distribute local food products, with contact details and links to those businesses’ webpages. Visitors can sort the lists – which feature 82 individual farm businesses and 10 organizations – by farm or business name; the name of the individual farm owner or operator; cities served; or product types available. A range of enterprises are represented, from produce and livestock products, to cut flowers and value-added products.
  • A list of other local food resources, including directories of farmers markets and CSA operators in Iowa and nationally; a list of all the regional food system working groups currently operating in Iowa, with links to each group’s webage where those interested can learn more about local foods initiatives, events and other resources in their area; and a link to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Local Foods page, which offers a range of tools, resources and information for consumers, farmers and others working to support local foods.
  • Links to blog posts, research reports and farminars on local-food-related topics. This content, created by Practical Farmers of Iowa, is automatically linked on the page whenever it is added to Practical Farmers’ website, offering visitors seeking local food information a central place to search.

“Publishing a comprehensive list of member-farmers who provide local foods is a first for Practical Farmers of Iowa,” says Liz Kolbe, horticulture coordinator for PFI, who helped lead the effort to overhaul the local food webpage. “The goal is to give our members more visibility. We are often asked by non-farmers how they can find PFI farmers to buy from.”

Another goal is to strengthen ties between farmers and non-farmers as part of our work to build stronger communities, which is part of Practical Farmers’ broader strategic plan. About 30 percent of Practical Farmers members are non-farmers – and both farmer and non-farmer members have identified local foods as a priority issue for Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Our Local Food Program focuses on connecting these groups through events, communication and other ways of helping non-farmers support PFI farmers – from purchasing their products to connecting farmers with land. With consumer interest in local food growing more generally, Practical Farmers hopes a more robust local foods webpage will serve as another valuable tool for fostering these connections between farmers and the “friends of farmers” looking to support them.

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Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit http://practicalfarmers.org.

Contacts:

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]