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Field to Family receives 2022 Ag Leadership Award

Field to Family ag award winners pose with award certificateIowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig awarded Field to Family a 2022 Ag Leadership Award. During his announcement, he says that “Over the 10 years of the Iowa Agriculture Leader Awards, we have recognized people and organizations that are making a difference for our farmers and rural communities,” said Secretary Naig. “I am proud to continue that tradition this year by recognizing outstanding leaders who champion conservation, build new markets for Iowa products and engage the next generation of agriculture leaders.” 

Field to Family was awarded the Market Diversification Award with partners Debbie Klein from Clear Creek Amana School District and Country View Dairy.

At the award ceremony, Naig’s staff released a video that highlighted the work of Field to Family and how the nonprofit works with school districts and farmers to source local for schools and communities. As a food hub that manages the purchase, aggregation, distribution and delivery of local-grown foods, F2F partners with farmers to access new markets, make local and healthy food more accessible, minimizes the environmental footprint of food consumed in the community and keeps food dollars local. 

 “Field to Family is unique in that we work with farmers to provide local foods to schools, other institutions and households, while also providing in-school education, bringing the farm to the school, connecting young Iowans as to where their food comes from,” said director Michelle Kenyon. “We are a partner in the state’s effort to encourage Iowans to choose local.”

F2F works with early care centers, k-12 schools, retirement communities, colleges, universities and other institutions to help make local food part of meals where people eat every day. In 2020, F2F launched an online market that provides local direct to households in the Iowa City/Johnson County region. The 2022 season will launch in May.

The Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD), with school buildings in Iowa City, Coralville, Hills and North Liberty, currently feeds a healthy meal to an average of 9,000 kids every school day.  

“Iowa City Schools is proud to partner with Field to Family to provide local produce and dairy to our students,” said Alison Demory, Nutrition Services Director at ICCSD. “Through our partnership, Iowa City Schools have increased the amount of locally-grown food on our school lunch menu annually since 2012.” 

In order to raise more produce, meat and dairy in-state, allowing citizens to eat locally and import less, Iowa has the opportunity to invest in building and expanding local food infrastructure. F2F was encouraged by the Iowa Farm to Table Taskforce Recommendations released late 2021 that encourages public funding to support the ability for food hubs like Field to Family to expand in partnership with local growers to meet a larger demand for local foods from institutions and communities.

Guest attending in person with Field to Family included Alison Demory, Director of Nutrition Services at Iowa City Community School District, Jon Green, as representative of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, Field to Family’s Executive Director Michelle Kenyon, and other staff members: Emily Roberts, Operations Manager and Olivia Bohlmann Operations Associate. Numerous members of the Iowa State Legislature, statewide elected officials, agricultural groups and FFA members were in attendance.