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Discuss local food at upcoming summit

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Iowa

Iowans can make their voices heard about creating a more vibrant food system at the Iowa Local Food Summit on April 3.

The summit will include conversations and workshops about how to meet the goals outlined in the Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan, developed by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in response to state legislation passed in 2011. The plan outlines broad goals for the production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of local food. It aims to increase the profitability of local foods and the number of jobs along the food chain.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will provide a welcome to the attendees. "We have made progress in making more local foods available in Iowa, but we still have work to do," Northey said. "This conference will help showcase some of the successes and bring all the stakeholders together to address the challenges. There are great opportunities on our farms and in our rural communities due to the growing interest by consumers in taking advantage of local foods, and this conference will help make sure Iowa doesn't miss out on those opportunities."

The team members of the Iowa Local Food and Farm Program have met some of these recommendations, and continue making progress toward others. They now hope to extend the conversation into a diverse cross-section of Iowans interested in providing input into addressing the challenges and barriers that still exist.

"As we overcome these barriers and face the challenges, we have the opportunity to build on the strong agricultural tradition of Iowa farmers and spread the net to prove that we can truly be part of the solution to feed Iowans with Iowa-grown and raised products," said Lynn Heuss, the Local Food and Farm Program assistant coordinator.

The summit will take place at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The keynote speaker, David Dahlquist, is a nationally recognized public artist and teacher who will speak about creating a local sense of place that embraces food, history and culture.

Register for the event online, or download the mail-in registration form, at www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/localfood/home.html. The regular fee is $20 and the student fee is $15 ifor those who register before March 30. There is an additional $25 charge to attend the local foods dinner, which starts at 6 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Leopold Center, ISU Extension and Outreach, ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.



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