Local Food Program

Strengthening Iowa's local food economy

The Local Food Program at the CEEE works to develop a local and regional food system that positively impacts consumers, farmers, and communities through education, collaboration, and economic development.

Our team works hand-in-hand with our valued partners to develop a diverse array of tools, education, experiences, and programs with the overarching goal of making food production and local food consumption accessible to everyone. We understand the importance of fostering self-sufficiency and supporting local economies. We create experiences that connect communities with the joy of growing and harvesting their own produce. In collaboration with our partners, we strive to create a food system that encourages not only self-sustainability but also a collective effort to purchase locally sourced food, fostering a healthier and more sustainable future for all.

For Consumers

Grow Eat Play logo

Grow, Eat, Play is your guide to local food in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, Iowa!

Check out the cvfoodfarmnetwork.org website and CVRFFN social media for seasonal recommendations for experiencing local food in our region, including a searchable Local Food Guide with local farms, farmers markets, and businesses supporting local food. Search Grow for local producers, Eat for restaurants purchasing local food, Play for U-pick farms, farmers markets, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches. Local food can be part of our favorite seasonal memories-go to an apple orchard with our family; buy local honey or other local ingredients for baking; visit a local farmers market. Grow.Eat.Play with local food and make memories while supporting local producers and enjoying fresh, local ingredients. 



  • Support businesses that purchase and use local products. You can find grocers, coffee shops, restaurants, and caterers that purchase and use local products.

  • Learn more about our Veggie Voucher program and other Nutrition Assistance Programs available for local food purchases. 

  • Try a new recipe for our partners at Healthy Harvest at North Iowa. You can get the same great local ingredients in the Cedar Valley area! 

  • Join us each February for our Farm to Fork Dinner. We gather to network, meet local producers & enjoy a local food meal.


  • Shop your farmers markets.

  • Find farms that you can visit and tour. 

  • Join us each August for our annual Farm Crawl. Each August you have an opportunity to visit select community gardens and farms to learn more about where your food comes from. You will meet the farmers and learn about the food they produce, how they produce it, and why. All ages are welcome.

  • Get involved in our Cedar Valley Regional Food & Farm Coalition. We lead the Cedar Valley Regional Food & Farm Network. A coalition of individuals, food and farm businesses, and community organizations & leaders working together to positively impact the local food system.

Local farms are run by local families who live and work near you! Their products travel less of a distance, so they are often fresher, more nutritious options. If we could all challenge ourselves to buy even 10% of our food locally, it would mean millions of dollars of income for the local economy.

Getting to know where your food comes from is an important key to understanding all its impacts. Choosing to buy local influences: local families, local economies, local communities, and local health. We celebrate each of these impacts as well as embrace the future opportunities we see for local foods in the Cedar Valley.

For Farmers

We take pride in facilitating the growth and success of local farms by assisting them in finding local markets and fostering connections within the farming community. Our dedicated efforts extend beyond mere matchmaking, as we actively work to build a network among farmers in our region. Through educational programs tailored to the needs of direct-marketing farms, we empower farmers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the complexities of the market and enhance their visibility. By supporting local farms in establishing strong connections and providing valuable education, we contribute to the resilience and sustainability of our regional agricultural community.

  • Farm to Institution - We can help connect you to wholesale buyers including schools, grocers, restaurants, and caterers. Join us in January and July for our annual local food producer/local food buyer networking events. Contact Jodie Huegerich at jodie.huegerich@uni.edu for more information.

  • Local Food Directory - Each January and February, you have the opportunity to join our local food directory. We want the Cedar Valley to know where to purchase their local products. We produce both an online, searchable directory and printed version to distribute in the Cedar Valley. Check out the membership benefits and membership criteria HERE. Contact Jodie Huegerich at jodie.huegerich@uni.edu for more information. 

For Communities

Tantalize your taste buds and cultivate lasting memories as you explore the Cedar Valley's vibrant local food scene. Unsure where to start? Dive into our resources to uncover the perfect local food experience tailored to your preferences, whether it's perusing farmer's markets, savoring delectable dishes at restaurants, or visiting farms for fresh, seasonal delights like produce, meat, and eggs. Embrace our region's offerings and enjoy every bite as you grow, eat, and play in the bounty of the Cedar Valley.