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The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Local Food Team’s work, in partnership with the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, focuses on supporting resilient food systems and healthy communities through research, education, and community engagement with diverse partners. We use three strategies to achieve this goal: (1) support community-based learning and decision-making that honors local realities, cultures and values; (2) support an interdisciplinary approach to food systems change by fostering connections between people, institutions, infrastructure, natural environment, economics and policy; and (3) seek change opportunities by committing to a systems approach.

Why Serve In Iowa?

Iowa is home to some of the most fertile soil in the world and rich in agricultural history including strong 4H and Future Farmers of America programs.

The Iowa Farm to School program has over two-dozen active chapters, and state programs like Iowa Department of Public Health's Pick a Better Snack provide nutrition educators, as well as fresh fruits and veggies snacks for kids.

From college towns, like Iowa City and Ames, to unique communities like Fairfield and the Amana Colonies, Iowa is soaked in tradition. You can still find headcheese at Polashek's Locker and try your hand at making lefse at Decorah’s Nordic Fest. There are also gems you won’t want to miss such as the world-famous Seed Saver’s Exchange and, or course, the Iowa State Fair (sorry folks, the Corn Palace is in South Dakota).

Despite an up-and-coming local food scene and a rich agricultural history, access to healthy, fresh food is still privilege. Much of Iowa is rural where poverty is hidden and families face the reality of food insecurity.  FoodCorps is needed to reconnect kids to their farming roots and inspire the next generation to be healthy.

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