Rolling Out the 2014 Campaign

We’re well into the 2014 Buy Fresh But Local campaign, and this year we hope to increase our efforts in creating a network of local farmers, business owners, and eaters all working together to promote locally grown in Greater Des Moines. Our campaign exclusively promotes foods and farm products grown on farms in Central Iowa, and aims to create transparency in the Des Moines local food movement. Our pledge takers, eaters, and supporters are vital to the campaign. We need you to come to us with questions, concerns, and excitement surrounding local food and farm products and the events celebrating these Central Iowa treasures.

20014 CSA fair at Campbell's Nutrition

20014 CSA fair at Campbell’s Nutrition

Here’s a quick look at what we’ve already got going for 2014. If you know of other happenings, new businesses, or new farms please send us a note to make sure we’re inviting them into this campaign.  If your favorite “locally grown” place to shop, dine, or visit isn’t in our network, please invite them to join our efforts. This is a campaign where members and supporters work together to further develop the awesome culture of locally grown in Greater Des Moines.

In addition to renewing farm and business memberships, we’re recruiting new members. Most of our members either grow or sell locally grown farm products. We’re seeing interest from new members who support the movement in other ways. Our relationship with Kitchen Collage, a seller of specialty kitchen and cooking items and a long standing sponsor of BFBL, is one example of a business enriching our campaign not by selling locally grown foods but partnering with farms and businesses that do. We’re also excited to announce that Break Through Performance Center has signed up as a member for 2014, a gym that integrates local farms with their programming. The owner Amanda Werts plans to arrange a CSA pickup at her gym, become a delivery location for other farms, and even get her gym members out onto local farms. Last year, you could see gym members traveling together at the Downtown Farmers Market talking with farmers, buying produce and meats, and learning about how locally grown can be an invaluable ingredient for better health.

We’re working hard to help our CSA farms with the 2014 membership drives. Thanks to all the BFBL supporters who turned out for the first annual CSA Fair at Campbell’s Nutrition earlier this month. If you couldn’t make the event but are still interested in learning more, check out our list of 2014 CSA memberships.

“We think the CSA fair was important for our customers to get in touch with some of the farmers to know more about where their food comes from,” says Diane Lahodny, owner of Campbell’s Nutrition. “I think having the fair here was a win-win situation. A lot of our customers were very interested in signing up. It was a good opportunity for them to talk to the people directly involved.”

Farmers too were excited to get together with the Greater Des Moines local food community. “I love coming to these just to tell people about my CSA,” said Ben Saunders from Wabi Sabi farm. “I get to reconnect with a lot of my CSA members who work here at Campbell’s and shop here.”

The Drake Agricultural Law Center is also working with Iowa Heartland RC&D on a project connecting CSAs with Des Moines area employers.  The project involves CSAs and employers working together to deliver shares directly to worksites making it easier for employees to access and eat more fresh produce.

“This project is a win, win, win.  Employers provide a proven strategy for better health, employees receive a growing season’s worth of the freshest produce possible, and farmers are able to expand their farms,” says Shirley Stout Fredrickson the executive director of Iowa Heartland RC&D. Certainly let us know if you know an employer who would like to participate in this program.

We’ll continue Plant a Mile and the Harvest Party, changing and developing the programs this year based on what we’ve learned in previous years. Plant a Mile will again provide opportunities for people to volunteer on participating farms, and a deeper partnership with Meals from the Market, and DMARC are being explored. Look for updates and opportunities to be involved later this spring.

As we move forward into 2014, our plan is to keep looking for new and innovative ways to provide people and organizations the opportunity to work together to bring more fresh, locally grown foods to Greater Des Moines.  We feel energized and excited about the work to come, and echo the sentiment of Melissa Dunham from Grinnell Heritage Farm, “We’re looking forward to a really good year!”