Farm to Table Task Force announced in Iowa

By Courtney Long–Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Iowa City Community School District staff from left to right, Margarita Rodriguez, Erin Randall, and Eunice Garcia, display local food from Field to Family food hub.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Vice President John Lawrence recently announced members appointed to the Farm to Table Task Force.

During the 2021 Iowa legislative session, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach were directed to establish and co-chair the Farm to Table task force to identify strategies that will improve the farm to table supply chain, making it easier for farmers to access markets and sell their products.

“As Secretary of Agriculture, one of my top priorities is helping to develop and grow markets for Iowa producers. Strengthening our local and regional food systems is a key component of that,” said Naig. “I’m looking forward to working with our partners at Iowa State and members of the task force to identify the challenges and opportunities within our supply chain.”

“The local foods sector has grown dramatically over the past decade,” said Lawrence. “This task force of sector leaders seeks to identify existing barriers and opportunities to strengthen the farm-to-table supply chain for farmers and buyers.”

The task force is charged with understanding and recommending how institutional purchasers, including schools, may procure food derived from local or regional producers and processors, including meat, dairy, eggs, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and honey. Additionally, the task force will review existing practices and recommend ways to improve direct-to-consumer transactions, donation efforts, and nutrition programs.

Task force members:

  • Secretary Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
  • John Lawrence, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
  • Jan Libbey, One Step at a Time Gardens
  • Bob Howard, Country View Dairy
  • Corinne Rowe, Rowe’s Red Cows
  • Penny Brown Huber, Prairie Rivers of Iowa
  • Darrell Goering, Milo Locker
  • Steve Winders, Loffredo Fresh Produce
  • Jason Grimm, Iowa Valley RC&D; Grimm Family Farm
  • Kelly Foss, Des Moines Farmers Market
  • David Smigo, Cornell College Dining; Bon Appetit
  • Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, Harlan CSD Food Service; Farm Table Delivery
  • Matt Unger, Des Moines Area Religious Council
  • Aaron Lehman, Iowa Farmers Union

The task force will prepare a report and submit its findings to the Iowa Legislature by Dec. 10, 2021. The Farm to Table Task Force held its first meeting on Monday, Sept. 27.

For information about the task force and initiative, contact Colin Tadlock, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at [email protected] or Courtney Long, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, food systems program manager at [email protected].