Iowa Value Chain Partnerships


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Presentation given at the Midwest Value Added Conference in Eau Claire, WI in January 2010.

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  • Iowa Value Chain Partnerships

    1. 1. Building networks for food systems change: the Regional Food Systems Working Group 2010 Value-Added Conference Eau Claire, Wisconsin Rich Pirog, Associate Director Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
    2. 2. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture <ul><li>Created thru Iowa Groundwater Protection Act - 1987 </li></ul><ul><li>State funded - $1.1 million in grants/year </li></ul><ul><li>Aldo Leopold is namesake </li></ul><ul><li>Three Initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Ecology </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing & Food Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul>
    3. 3. Marketing and Food Systems Initiative Building resilient regional food systems <ul><li>Convening and building networks </li></ul><ul><li>Profitability and business planning </li></ul><ul><li>Energy use and environmental/economic impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Distribution and processing </li></ul><ul><li>Access to capital </li></ul><ul><li>Local food assessment & capacity building </li></ul><ul><li>Food and health </li></ul><ul><li>Immigrant, beginning and transitioning farmers </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing and market research </li></ul>More than 100 projects funded since 2001
    4. 4. Building capacity across regional food systems <ul><li>Difficult for farmers/communities to negotiate </li></ul>NGOs Community action groups Sustainable ag centers Cooperatives consultants Private sector Health Organizations Centers K-12 Comm. Colleges Colleges ?? Dining Univ Departments Extension State Dept of Agric. & Health Bureaus Programs Directives USDA Rural Development Ag Marketing SARE Farm Organizations Marketing Policy Production
    5. 5. From Vandeventer, P., and M Mandell, 2007. Networks that Work Which best describes your network? Type of network Level of Risk (to members ) Systemic Change Potential How they operate Cooperating Low Little chance Model best practices; test ideas and learn different approaches; convene problem-solving sessions Coordinating Low to Moderate Good chance Push established organizational boundaries; engage in activities requiring greater mutual reliance Collaborating Moderate to High Best chance Methods in place to resolve conflicts; pursuing long-term system creation; radical shifts from past operation; fundamental resource re-allocation
    6. 6. Toward Collaborating Networks A Communities of Practice framework <ul><li>“ Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002:4) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>Funded in part by the Wallace Center at Winrock International and the Leopold Center </li></ul><ul><li>In partnership with ISU, ISU Extension, PFI, and the Leopold Center </li></ul>Value Chain Partnerships An Iowa-Based Network of Food and Agriculture Working Groups Fruit and Vegetable Grass-Based Livestock Pork Niche Market Regional Food Systems Small Meat Processors
    8. 8. Value Chain Partnerships 4 core functions <ul><li>Information hubs – integrated info across organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Catalysts for cooperation – build trust and capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Magnets – leverage and obtain funding </li></ul><ul><li>Scouts – cutting edge of new ideas </li></ul>
    9. 9. Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG) <ul><li>The Regional Food System Working Group is an umbrella network for all Iowan’s working to build a more vibrant and sustainable regional food system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We offer a collaborative environment for a diverse group of non-profit, government, and private organizations and farmer networks to share resources and support. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We work to maximize the potential for investment in community-based, economically sustainable, and environmentally and socially responsible regional food enterprises. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>More than 20 organizations and farmer networks </li></ul><ul><li> regularly participate </li></ul>
    10. 11. How RFSWG functions <ul><li>Group meets quarterly to share information, network, and identify new opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Seed grants awarded to local groups to strengthen key elements needed to build a more resilient food system </li></ul><ul><li>Funds used for planning, assessment, coordination, leadership development, and other activities proposed by each group </li></ul><ul><li>Research needs emerge from the group and addressed by state and regional organizations represented </li></ul><ul><li>Experienced groups provide feedback as new groups develop </li></ul>
    11. 12. SWIFFI Nested networks and brands ISU Extension, PFI, RC&Ds, INCA, Farmers Union, WFAN, State agencies, consultants Drake Univ, Comm. Colleges
    12. 13. Building community across research, education, advocacy and outreach networks the food system <ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social network sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rich Pirog [email_address] </li></ul></ul>