UNI Local Food Program | Services to farmers

Tools to help you start a local business!


Attention Iowa direct market farmers! 

You are invited to participate in a study to help us understand biodiversity in local food production in Iowa.  This study will develop a current crop inventory of fruits and vegetables being sold by direct market farmers in Iowa and identify the factors that farmers consider when making decisions about what to plant on their farms.  We often say that local food production improves biodiversity on farms, but no one has formally measured it.  This research will help us understand the real impact that local food has on Iowa’s farm diversity.

This study has three components:

1.  A short demographic survey and submission of your last three years of crop records to the research team.  Crop records should include the name of the plant and variety (e.g. Dragon Tongue Beans), the source (e.g. Johnny’s Seeds), and the quantity purchased and planted.  You will receive $25 for taking this survey and submitting crop records.

2.  A second, longer survey that asks you to identify and rank the reasons you plant the fruits and vegetables you submitted with your crop records.  Compensation:  $50

3.  We will interview a smaller group of farmers to determine the decision making criteria before developing the second survey.  You can indicate your willingness to be interviewed when you fill out the first survey.  Compensation:  $25

If you have questions about this project, please contact Brandi Janssen at brandi-janssen@uiowa.edu or (319)335-4190.

For more information and to take the first survey, follow this link:

Biodiversity in Local Food, Survey 1

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Training


Here is the tentative county schedule for trainings for 2018-2019.

Kossuth           TBA

Sac                  Oct. 23

Guthrie            TBA

Montgomery   16-Oct

Decatur           Feb. 28

Story                 Feb. 5

Poweshiek       8-Nov

Black Hawk   Jan. 24

Dubuque         27-Nov

Scott                30-Jan

Des Moines     7-Mar

2018 Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vendor Training

Waterloo, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship offers training and support to vendors who participate in Farmers Market locations throughout the State of Iowa.  Vendors need to become certified under the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and participate in training.  Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Black Hawk County will be showing the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vendor Training for free at 3420 University Avenue in Waterloo, Iowa.  To register use the URL listed for the training session chosen. 

Wednesday, April 25 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/8947869995481495553For more information please contact Shelly Smith, Executive Director, at ISU Extension & Outreach Black Hawk County, 319-234-6811 or shellys@iastate.edu.  

Free Farmers Market Food Safety Training


Increase the impact and reach of the Northern Iowa Food and Farm Partnership by helping us set new goals to address critical food systems needs of our region. This strategic planning session will be facilitated by Lynn Heuss, Program Coordinator with the ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods Team, and Courtney Long who assists in the development of sustainable community design with communities around Iowa.

Save the date!
Wednesday, Dec. 13  |  2:30-4:30 p.m.
Northeast Iowa Food Bank

Farmer to Farmer Podcast

Chris Blanchard provides consulting and education for farming, food, and business through Purple Pitchfork, and hosts the Farmer to Farmer Podcast. As the owner and operator of Rock Spring Farm for fifteen years, Chris raised twenty acres of organic fresh produce in Northeast Iowa after spending ten years working in other farming and research operations. Tune in to learn more!

CEEE In Action
Engaging students in the community