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Building Regional Food Systems, Part 2: Creating Networks and Measuring Impacts

1) How the Iowa cross-food-system communities of practice work, and why they are so successful. 2) A study that shows great positive economic impact on a six-state area with a switch from commodity to fruit and vegetable crops.

May 6, 2010: Building Regional Food Systems, Part 2: Creating Networks and Measuring Impacts


Richard Pirog, Associate Director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, presents on two of the Leopold Center’s major projects:

Creating Networks:

Value Chain Partnerships is an Iowa-based network of food and agriculture working groups which brings together a diverse ensemble of producers, processors, and private, non-profit, and government organizations across a variety of market-driven food and agriculture issues. Currently supporting six state-wide and regional working groups, the working groups operate using a community of practice framework, which has been pivotal to their success. Learn about the Value Chain Partnerships, and how the community of practice framework has been so successful in bridging the differences between such a diverse group of participants to deliver benefits to farmers and food business networks and communities.

Measuring Impacts:
A just-released analysis from the Leopold Center* and analyzed by ISU researcher Dave Swenson estimated potential state and regional economic values associated with increased production of fresh fruit and vegetables in a six-state area of the Upper Midwest. Both scenarios in the study showed that reasonable increases in fruit and vegetable production would significantly increase the number of jobs at the farm and retail level compared to current agricultural land use. You’ll hear some details of the findings, as well as the methods used to determine impacts.

* in collaboration with regional partners who participated in the Wallace Center’s Upper Midwest Regional Lead Team

Read the recently released study:press release, or the full report.

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