Local Food

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Why Local?

Buying and eating local food has exceptional taste and freshness, helps strengthen the local economy, supports family farms, is extremely nutritious, and helps protect the environment.

local food ic

  • 90% of Iowa's food is imported.
  • A typical carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table. Iowans eat 25.9 million pounds of carrots each year and only 5% of them are grown in Iowa.
  • Fresh produce purchased in Iowa has traveled an average of 1,500 miles, whereas locally produced food travels an average of 56 miles. The less travel, the better the food will taste and the healthier it will be.
  • Farmers' markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer. On average, 91 cents per dollar spent on food from a grocery store goes to the middle man. When you buy local from a market, more than 9 cents per dollar stays in your community.
  • University Dining considers an item to be local if it has been grown, manufactured, or processed in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota or Minnesota.

Visit The Iowa City Farmer's MarketIowa City Farmers Market Logo

The Iowa City Farmer's Market is a perfect place to buy local food! Check it out May through October at the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp and the 400 block of Washington Street, Wednesday afternoon from 5-7 pm and Saturday morning from 7:30 am to noon.



The University of Iowa is fortunate to be in a community that has active local food supporters.

Johnson County Local Foods Council and Policy

Local Foods Connection, a group in east-central Iowa who donate fresh local produce to low-income families.

Local Harvest, an online resource to find farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food near you.

Edible Iowa River Valley, a publication celebration Iowa local foods, season by season

Practical Farmers of Iowa, a non-profit, educational organization that began in 1985 and now has more than 2,300 individual members in Iowa and neighboring states. Its mission is to research, develop and promote profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture.