New Group to Focus on Iowa’s Food and Farms

Press Release: IOWA--The Iowa Food Systems Council is an emerging non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and recommend policy, program and research initiatives for a food system which supports healthier Iowans, families, farms and communities. Launched in November 2010, the 17-member Board of Directors represent production, processing, distribution, retail, and waste management arenas. The Board also includes Directors with expertise in public health, nutrition, food access, consumption, economics, natural resources, and education. Several state government agencies hold ex-officio positions on the Board.

Iowa Food Systems Council President Linda Gobberdiel’s goal is to engage representatives from all food system sectors and develop new relationships to enhance food systems within the state that support the essential role of food in health in our communities, the economy, and the environment. “We can and will work to take the necessary actions in food policy, research, and programming to develop and sustain an effective food system for now and future generations,” said Gobberdiel. The Iowa Food Systems Council is the second generation of food policy council for Iowa. In 2000, Governor Thomas Vilsack initiated an Executive Order to establish the Iowa Food Policy Council. Through 2006, the 21-member Governor-appointed Council, administered by the Drake University Agricultural Law Center, provided numerous policy recommendations to improve the food system in Iowa, specifically on lowering food insecurity and growing local food production. For the last two years, more than 165 stakeholders representing diverse food system sectors from across Iowa have engaged in strategic planning activities in an effort to re-establish the Council. Financial assistance provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has enabled the Council to transition to a member-based non-profit organization. Fiscal administration for this effort has been provided by the Iowa Center on Health Disparities at the University of Northern Iowa. The key to successfully launching the Iowa Food Systems Council will be cultivating relationships. According to Gobberdiel, “relationship building will be an initial focus of the Iowa Food Systems Council as we work to create a collaborative approach to ensuring a resilient, sustainable and secure food system for Iowa. We will actively learn from other state food policy councils and work toward improving the health of our residents and communities, supporting our state economy, and protecting the environment.” For more information about the Iowa Food Systems Council, contact Angie Tagtow at 515-367-5200, angie.tagtow@mac.com. The vision of the Iowa Food Systems Council is to cultivate a just and diverse food system that supports the health of Iowans, communities, economies and the environment. For further information, visit www.IowaFoodSystemsCouncil.org.

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