The northwest Iowa Regional Foods System Working Group (RFSWG) is actively seeking northwest Iowa residents, local food producers, local food retailers, farmers market managers and all other food-shed stakeholders to attend a meeting to be held Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. at Iowa State University Extension-Cherokee County, 209 Centennial Drive, Suite A, Cherokee.
The northwest Iowa RSFWG is a multi-county coalition of individuals and organizations that are working to build a regional food system in northwest Iowa. Our vision is to build a sustainable regional food system linking production, processing, distribution, and consumption for better health, food security, and community and economic development.
"Consumers have created a greater demand for local foods because they want to know where their food is coming from," said Iowa State University (ISU) Extension Region 5 Director Sherry McGill. "It has been proven in other areas of Iowa that it is possible to establish a local food system that provides the food necessary while benefitting the area economically. Plus, if producers work together, they can accomplish more than they can alone."
At the January 20th event, ISU Extension Swine Program Specialist Dave Stender will present on buying meat from a local producer. Topics to be discussed include: How much does it cost? How much do I get? What cuts should I pick? What are the common livestock and meat marketing terms I should know? Will it taste better? How much space in my freezer do I need? Is it safe to eat? Should it be aged?
"Buying meat from a local producer allows you to choose not only the quality of animal you would like, but also the breed and exactly how you want the meat cut and packaged," said Stender. "When you purchase locally you will also know how the animal is raised and what it was fed."
Also, an overview of a successful local food system in northeast Iowa will be shared including how they are promoting and organizing regional food production and how it has helped the local economy. A short webcast about the history and future of the local food movement in our region called "Locally grown food grows local dollars" will be shown. The meeting will be facilitated by Megan Will who has been the coordinator of the Sioux City Farmers Market.
During a second meeting to be held Tuesday, Jan. 26, Arion Thiboumery from ISU will present on bringing meat to market including processing and selling logistics for small-scale producers. The meeting will be held at ISU Extension-Woodbury County, 4301 Sergeant Rd., #209, Sioux City.
Thiboumery will focus on the meat business after production including processing and marketing and will provide a look at the logistics of selling wholes, halves, and quarters and why this makes good business sense for producers and consumers. He will include an overview of how commodity meat markets work, meat regulations and types of inspection, carcass utilization, what tactics niche producers can use to be competitive in the market place, and how to best select a meat processor to partner with.
To register to attend either or both of these meetings, please call ISU Extension-Woodbury County at (712) 276-2157 for this event. There is no charge to attend.
ISU Extension--Woodbury County is part of a grant from the Leopold Center through the Wallace Center of Winrock to help grow a northwest Iowa regional food system. The grant is specifically targeted at reaching growers or producers of locally grown products in the Woodbury, Monona, Ida, Cherokee, Plymouth and Sioux Counties, but anyone may come to the presentations.
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