Farm to ISU: Helping Iowa State University Dining Staff Understand and Grow the Local Food Purchasing Program

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

09/01/08

END DATE

06/30/09

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE
SPONSORS

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program
U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA)
US Department of Agriculture

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Shashi Nambisan

Transportation Research Engineer

About the research

Researchers and institutions are aware of an increase in consumer demand for local foods and perceptions of dining directors; however few are considering the views of the dining staff who prepare locally-sourced food. This study explores the perceptions of dining services staff at Iowa State University (ISU) toward the two-year old local food purchasing program Farm to ISU. Over the course of six months, staff were surveyed, participated in a workshop on local food, and then took the survey for a second time.

The goal of this project was to increase the knowledge and resource base of ISU Dining staff in order to foster an institutional culture around, and program ownership of, Farm to ISU. The intermediate-term outcomes are as follows:

  • Creation of a diverse regional farm to college dining program group
  • Increased awareness of the value and importance of local food systems among ISU Dining staff

The long-term objectives are to grow and maintain the Farm to ISU program which will ensure the economic viability of local farms, foster community by connecting farmers and the dining staff, and increase environmental quality. Local, diversified, small, and mid-sized farms will have a greatly expanded market with a large institution like Iowa State University buying products from them. Purchasing from such farms will help ensure that local farmland is neither consolidated nor suburbanized.

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