Resource Spotlight: Iowa State: Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development

In this month's Resource Spotlight, we're chatting with members from Iowa State to learn more about their Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program. They have tons of resources available for community food systems, farm to school, farm viability, and business development. Read on to learn more!
First up, contact info:
Farm Food and Enterprise Development email:
Who are we “speaking” with and what’s your role?
Courtney Long- Food Systems Team Manager within Farm Food and Enterprise Development
The Details:
Domain/Subject Area

Community Food Systems, Assessments, Capacity Development
The Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is here to support small farms, food systems and business development.
Okay now for the fun stuff…
1. How would you describe the Iowa State Food, Farm and Enterprise Development? But there’s a catch… describe it in a haiku!
engaging small farms
food systems development
food business growth
2. What does the Iowa State Food, Farm and Enterprise Program bring to the regional and national food systems table?
The FFED program supports food systems through three different teams. 
The Small Farms team works with farmers and farm businesses on various growing practices and business models, procurement and selling options, and agritourism.  In addition, the Small Farms hosts the Agricultural Marketing Center which is a national platform that shares market and production research, curriculum, and additional tools for food businesses.  Check out for more information.
The Food Systems team works broadly with communities in the support of the development of community food systems.  This includes a community food system process and food systems assessment, as well as technical assistance on specific projects ranging from farm to school, food access, economic development, health and wellness and more.  The Food Systems team also offers three different certifications: Local Food Leader, for individual engagement skills in food systems; Community Food Systems, for practitioners looking for strategic planning and assessment tools; and Mapping 101 for use of mapping in decision making.
The Enterprise Development team works with various scales of businesses in support of business plan development, feasibility studies, entrepreneurship training, market research, and general consulting.  The team is also working with Business Model Canvas and a Launch U course to support food businesses in the creation of unique business plans and the ability to understand their opportunities within the market region.
3. Who does the Iowa State Food, Farm and Enterprise Program serve?
Overall, FFED serves producers, food businesses, and communities engaging in the food system or local economies.  However, the scope of that ranges for each team.  Some of the programs have a national scope, while others are focused in the state of Iowa. 
4. What do people/orgs look to you for?

  • Business Development support including feasibility, market research, and consulting
  • Research on different types of growing practices, trends, curriculum, etc.
  • Technical Assistance in areas of community food systems processes, farm to school support, food systems assessments, general consulting on projects
  • Program offerings: Market Ready, Business Model Canvas, Local Food Leader, Community Food Systems, Mapping 101
5. What one (or two!) problem(s) can someone find solutions for on your site?
  • Small Farms: Information on Small Farm Sustainability and Podcast
  • Food Systems: Information regarding recent projects and curriculum that is available
  • Business Development: Business Model Canvas walk through- business vision and mission, audience, etc.
6. Are there certain tools or resources that you’ve found especially popular?
The tools that we’ve found particularly popular are listed in each description above.  I think overall the ability to offer both educational opportunities as well as follow up technical assistance has been a popular option and unique opportunity through this unit.
7. Who can access your resources? How? 8. What other resources or support is the Iowa State Food, Farm and Enterprise Program looking for?
We are continually looking for new partnerships and collaborations on projects research.  It is always helpful to learn and hear about the important work going on around the Nation.  If you are interested in collaborating or discussing new ideas, please reach out!
One of the recent projects that the Food Systems team is working on is a Cooperative Agreement with USDA AMS on understanding needed core competencies for food systems practitioners as well as existing curriculum that may meet these areas of interest.  If you work in the realm of food systems, we’d appreciate your insights!  Please consider taking our survey.
9. What other “resource-full” organizations would you recommend?
It is so hard to list all of the great organizations and work going on.  Here are a few ideas…
  • Consider connecting and working with your local Universities and Land-Grant Institutions.  Many are doing work in this arena.
  • Connect with Small Business Development Centers.
  • Collaborations and Funding: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and Extension Risk Management regions (ERME) have solid research and opportunities for grants and collaborations.
Research: Networks: 10. How can someone get in touch with you for more information?
Please feel free to reach out by phone or email to any of the team managers. Thanks for sharing more about Iowa State's resources, Courtney! 

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