Category: Announcements

6 Reasons to Eat Local in 2017

2017 is finally here! At Iowa Food Cooperative, we feel strongly there’s one resolution we should all commit to keeping: Eating local. Luckily, eating local is a great resolution to keep because it supports so many of things we want in our lives. Things like being healthier, being part of a community, and trying new things. Here are six reasons why you should eat local in 2017.

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1. Healthier, fresher food. Most of us start the new year with a goal of being healthier. We start going to the gym more, eat more salad and fewer chips, and pull out that yoga mat that was collecting dust in the corner of our living room. One way to stay on track with your healthy eating goals is to buy more fresh, local produce. You’ll find the food is more flavorful and lasts longer, which makes eating healthier more joyful. It tastes fresher because it is fresher. The salad mix you ordered was picked the day before you picked it up and traveled fifty miles instead of 1,500 miles.

2. Try something new! Maybe you said you’d try something new every week or every day in 2016. Maybe you have a Pinterest board full of bucket list items. If you’re adventurous you’ll love eating local and you’ll really love shopping at IFC. Our producers are always adding unique items like aronia berry brats, cardoon, and lard. Challenge yourself by ordering something you’ve never tried during every cycle. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite food!

3. A greater connection with your environment. By eating local food you’ll automatically learn about when foods are in season. You’ll find meals that represent winter to you, like hearty soups with lots of root vegetables, and meals that represent summer to you, like sweet corn and BLT’s. You will know that goats produce milk after they give birth, that you can eat the beet greens as well as the roots, and if you pay attention to what your local farmers are sharing on Facebook you might learn about farming too. Maybe you’ll start growing a few things yourself… or maybe you’ll decide to leave that to the professionals.

4. Become part of something bigger than yourself. When you eat local you do so much more than “just” eat local. At IFC we’ve seen our members and producers become friends who exchange holiday cards and congratulate each other on weddings and babies. At our annual meeting each year our members and producers sit together to share food and talk about the challenges and triumphs of farming, the environment, health, and the meaning of life. Okay, maybe not the meaning of life, but we wouldn’t put it past our members. By eating local you’re supporting a different kind of community that cares for each other.

5. Support Iowa’s economy. You love shopping in the East Village, bought your bike from the Des Moines Bike Collective, and prefer local restaurants to chains. You’re proud to be from Iowa and have the Iowa Native or Transplant sticker on your bumper to prove it. According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 you spend locally $68 of that comes back to your community in the way of taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. When you shop at a national chain, only $43 comes back. And shifting just 5% of your out-of-area spending to support local produces and businesses would have a $1 billion impact on Greater Des Moines.

6. Local food preserves Iowa farmland and makes Iowa a more beautiful place to live. If you’ve ever visited one of our producer’s farms, or any diversified farm, you know they are beautiful places. Imagine if the drive across Iowa had more diversified farms raising vegetables, meat, dairy, and flowers, for miles and miles. It would be magical, but those farms and barns won’t be there for future generations if we don’t support them today.

SALE: Lard from Lucky George Farm

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If you’ve never tried cooking with lard–this cycle would be a great time to give it a shot! Lucky George Farm has their quarts of Large Black Lard priced 50% off! Normally they are $24, which means this cycle they’re only $12! This is an amazing deal for a local, delicious cooking oil. Their popular leaf lard is not on sale this cycle.

Ready to place your order? Click here!

 

Testimonials

Not sure about cooking with lard? Isn’t that the stuff my mom was always telling me to avoid? Our consumers have tried it and love it! Read a few of their testimonials below:

I used the lard for Thanksgiving turkey and gravy and it was wonderful.

-Sam Kurth


From my use, your leaf lard is far superior than regular lard. Your leaf lard doesn’t give food a porkish flavor or smell, unlike other lards I have used. I find it gives veggies more flavor, satisfying the “umami” taste buds. I sautee our breakfast veggies every time with you leaf lard, and bake with it whenever a recipe calls for butter/oil/coconut oil. Since I know how well you raise your pigs (both in life and death), I can confidentially cook with your lard all the time without fear of exposing my body to harmful components.

I bake potatoes, sweet potatoes, and every squash with your lard, and even my father, a smoker all his life who has nearly no smell, comments on how good my cooking smells (and tastes).

-Jess Mimick


Lucky George Farm is my go to supplier for the leaf lard that I use in my pie crusts. As leaf lard is not easy to come by due to processing regulations, I love being able to get this product from an Iowa family farm. I am very anxious to try some of their other products as well.

-Joan Warren, Cooking by J, Personal Chef Service
pies-lard

Lard is a versatile cooking medium and we know you’ll get a lot of use out of it! In case you’re still a little nervous, here are a few tips:

Tips and Tricks for Cooking with Lard from Jess Mimick

 

Keep lard in the fridge, so whenever a recipe calls for liquid oil, I microwave the lard for 45 seconds, enough to soften it so it blends easily (both for liquids and solid mixing).

For sauteeing/frying I scoop 1-2 spoon full, and let the oil melt before adding the food. I find it cooks/browns food faster, so lower temperature and more stirring is important (for sauteeing/frying) especially for garlic and onions.

With sauteed veggies, (I like them hot with bit of crunch and only slight softness) I cook the veggies to 75-80% cooked & then turn the heat down to the lowest option. I think the lard keeps the heat longer, so it continues to cook even after the heat is turned down.

Ready to place your order? Click here!

Save the Date: Annual Meeting and Potluck Cooking Contest

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Save the date for the annual Iowa Food Cooperative Member Annual Meeting AND Potluck Cooking Contest!

When: Saturday, December 3, Time 4:30-8:00 PM
Where: Grace United Methodist Church, 3700 Cottage Grove, Des Moines

NEW THIS YEAR, we are hosting a cooking contest. Start thinking about what dish you would like to make for a chance to win in one of the following categories.

Most Iowa Ingredients
Crowd Favorite

Keep checking back at this post for more information or RSVP on Facebook!

A Message From Our President

Hi Everyone,

Wow – what a great year the Iowa Food Coop is having! Our membership is thriving, enabled by our amazing volunteers and our dedicated staff. Producers continue to keep our mouths and tummies happy with their amazing food, and consumer members remain committed to our ongoing success. Thank you for whatever role you play in this wonderful organization.
There are so many things that I want to share with you – ideas that our energetic staff, board members, and other volunteers have for how we can keep growing the IFC so that we can get all that we need to eat in one place, and producer members can provide food in a sustainable way – environmentally, socially, and financially. Instead of writing a novel here – I would like to invite you to attend our annual meeting! We are working to make it a great event where we can talk about the IFC today and in the future, sharing our ideas with you and collecting your input for how to shape the IFC. And of course there is the potluck — and if you’ve been to one of our potlucks, you know that the food will not disappoint. We are even planning a little competition this year – with prizes for dishes:
  • Using most number of IFC ingredients
  • With IFC ingredient best used in unusual way
  • Crowd Favorite

 

Please let us know if you’ll be able to join, and feel free to invite a friend! One of the best ways you can help the IFC succeed is to tell others about us – and this annual meeting would be a great way for someone to kick off a 6-month trial membership right before the holidays! (You can even give a trial membership as a gift – we won’t tell anyone that is free.) Bring a dish big enough to share, invite them along, and we’ll make sure they are thanking you for introducing them to the IFC.

Well, there are so many more things that I’d like to say – but need to go decide what’s for dinner (and what needs to go in my IFC basket this week!). Hope to see you on December 5th, if not before.

Always growing,
Tony

Leadership needed!

Interested in joining our board? This is a fun, challenging, and rewarding position that allows you to have a larger voice in the future of IFC. We have two spots for producer members and one for consumer members. Please let me (Tony Thompson) know if you are interested in applying (or if you have questions) by sending me an email or calling 515-367-0110.

 

Volunteers needed

If you think joining the board might be too much of a commitment right now, but would be willing to volunteer during our distribution cycles, contact Lisa Bean (lbean1006@gmail.com) or Mary Mathiasen (mkmathiasen@icloud.com) to find out about volunteer opportunities.

 

Driver needed

We are looking for a dependable person to drive the IFC van between distribution sites on alternate Thursday afternoons. This is a paid position. If you or someone you know could help out for a few hours by driving between our Franklin, West Des Moines, and Ankeny sites and loading / unloading products that are being delivered to those distribution sites, please contact Gary – 515-450-6812or gary@iowafood.coop.

 

Producer Profile: Meadow BlazingStar Honey

Meadow BlazingStar Honey joined Iowa Food Coop during the summer of 2016. They are urban beekeepers that wowed our members with their unique beeswax luminaries and delicious creamed and raw honey. You can shop their products online here. Thanks Andy and Catherine for sharing your story with us! 

What is the name of your farm?

We chose the name Meadow BlazingStar Honey to honor one of our favorite native plants, Meadow Blazing Star. It is a beautiful prairie plant that is very beneficial to bees, monarchs, & other important pollinators.

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Honey supers loaded up on the truck (to bring to the honey house to extract)

 

Tell us a little about the make-up of your farm.

We are a small family business located in Des Moines. Andy manages on average about 135 hives that are located in & around Polk County. Our workforce includes our young son, who is our dedicated product tester, especially when honey is involved. We started with two hives on a hill in Kentucky, & when a series of fortunate events led us to Iowa, we continued to build our bee business as we’ve found our place here.

What does your farm specialize in?

We sell raw honey, handmade beeswax products, & Northern-bred bees. We work hard to keep our bees healthy by boosting their nutrition, controlling pests, & choosing great locations for the hives in the Des Moines area. We believe sustainability can be found in well-managed hives consisting of good genetic stock, & we’re relieved to have never experienced tremendous losses. Another focus we maintain is education & community outreach. We are always learning from others, & we give information when we can. Andy is on the board of the Iowa Honey Producers Association & also teaches a popular beekeeping class each winter. He is an Eastern Apicultural Society Master Beekeeper & enjoys helping other beekeepers get better at what they do.

Beekeeper field day led by Adam of Meadow Blazingstar

Beekeeper field day led by Andy of Meadow Blazingstar

 

Can you tell us a few things that make your signature product(s) special?

We take care to ensure our honey retains its raw form. We offer creamed honey, also called spun honey, which is raw honey that has been purposely crystallized by controlling its temperature. The result is a smooth, spreadable luxurious treat! We produce unique beeswax products that are crafted from wax from our own hives. We breed our own queens to be gentle, productive, & well-suited to our Northern climate.

What is your farm’s biggest season?

Honey is extracted in late summer, & it is our goal to always have it in enough supply to be able to provide it year round. Beeswax is a by-product of the extraction process & is available throughout the year. We are looking forward to offering new beeswax products such as fire starters, ornaments, & beautiful molded candles for the fall & upcoming holiday season.

Honey extractor

Honey extractor

 

Are there any special processes involved with harvesting or processing your products? Can you tell us about them?

Lucky for the beekeeper, bees have a natural tendency to store surplus honey above all else in the hive. This allows us to remove the upper boxes from the hive & bring the extra honey into our honey house, away from the bees. An electric hot knife is used to slice the wax cappings off of the frames of honey comb that are in the boxes. These frames of comb are placed in an extractor reel, where they’re spun. The resulting centrifugal force throws honey from the frames. It flows from the stainless steel walls of the extractor & is collected into tanks & buckets. The honey that is extracted is in the same form as it was when removed from the hive. The wax cappings that are removed in the extraction process are rendered in a time- and labor-intensive process, & we use this wax to create our beeswax products.

This luminary won 1st Place at the Iowa State Fair for beeswax art--and they're available in the shop!

This luminary won 1st Place at the Iowa State Fair for beeswax art–and they’re available in the shop!

 

What is the most important thing for consumers to know about your products?

We are a small, local, family-owned business. What we have to offer is ours: it’s legitimate. It’s a world where it can be hard to determine the authenticity or origin of a product that you’re buying, & it can be difficult to make consumer choices because of so much deception. Our products are simply what we say they are.

Do you have a funny/interesting/surprising story about your business?

We once reveled in the glory of a 5-lb bucket as our sole honey crop, & now we’ll see well over 5,000 pounds of honey as our harvest this year. As we sell our honey & beeswax products in fantastic local stores such as Beaverdale Books & the Iowa Food Cooperative–& at our neighborhood Beaverdale Farmer’s Market–we cannot be more amazed by & appreciative of the support from our community. We are very proud to be honey suppliers to Buzzed Bee Meadery, a brand-new meadery in Melbourne, Iowa that is owned by a great, talented family. We submitted a handful of entries to the apiary division at the Iowa State Fair this year, & we were very excited to earn a handsome collection of ribbons. In each step of the way, we never saw the next step coming, & we are looking forward to seeing what happens next. While it’s all been semi-crazy & a lot of hard work, it’s all been very rewarding & a lot of fun.

Shop their products online here!

Explorations in Culture and Food at Global Greens Farm

When I arrive at Global Greens Farm I walk up to the barn to find farm manager Zachary Couture washing produce with a group of enthusiastic, joyful women. Two of the women, Anastasia and Katie, discuss some beautiful tongue of fire fresh beans.

“You don’t even have to soak them,” they told me. “Just boil for 15 minutes and they’re ready to eat.”

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I’m immediately intrigued. My love of eating beans is equal to my hatred of soaking them. I never think to do it ahead and always have to use a quick soak method, which doesn’t always yield tasty results. These fresh beans sound easy to prepare and they’re beautiful to look at.

“Everyone eats beans,” says Zac, as we walk around the farm to see what other beans are out there. We find long beans, which hang like a beaded curtain over a doorway. There are also cranberry beans coming on, which I remember eating in my soups all winter.

Of course there are green beans as well, which Simon & Mariselina Bucumi of Simon’s Plant Collaboration are harvesting in preparation for the sale. Mariselina and Simon fled their homeland of Burundi in 1972 for the Congo and then lived in refugee camps in Tanzania. They continue their lifelong experience as farmers in Des Moines.

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Global Greens farmer Beuline Bucumi helps harvest green beans.

Register for the Global Greens Farm Field Day

It’s hard not to go to Global Greens Farm without learning something new or tasting something new and delicious. That’s why Iowa Food Coop members enjoy attending their annual Farm Field Day. Visit the farm and enjoy:

  • Cultural dances from Bhutan
  • Learning a few words and phrases in a new language
  • Trying new foods made by the farmers at our potluck
  • A farm scavenger hunt to learn about some of the more unique vegetables growing out at the farm
  • A raffle to win Global Greens Farmers’ Market coupons!

Event Details
August 4th from 5:30 – 7:30pm
4444 Fuller Rd. West Des Moines, 50265

It’s a potluck meal – bring a dish to share!
LSI will provide drinks, utensils and dinnerware.

Register here for the field day!

Alt. Thursday Market Offers New Opportunity to Shop Local

Iowa Food Cooperative, your online source for local food, is hosting a farmer’s market in the parking lot of the Franklin Avenue store on August 4 from 4-6:30 PM. The store, which has Iowa made cheeses, milk, yogurt, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, pastured poultry, artisan flours, and more will be open for business during these hours as well.

The farmer’s market will continue every other Thursday from August 4 to October 27 at 4944 Franklin Avenue in Des Moines.

From our consumer survey we learned that some costumers would like the option to shop IFC more than every other week. This farmer’s market and open store hours is our first attempt to help meet the needs of those costumers. It’s also an opportunity for community members who have never shopped at IFC to come learn what it’s all about–we encourage you to invite your friends! The market and store are open to all non-members during these hours.

Stayed tuned to Facebook for more info on what producers will be there this week!

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March Cooking Class at the Des Moines Social Club

This spring Iowa Food Cooperative is hosting the first Locavore Cooking Class series at the Des Moines Social Club. The second class in the series was March 1 and was a fantastic time! We made a healthier Fettuccine Alfredo with noodles from Zaza’s Pastas, greek yogurt from Country View Dairy, bread from Daily Bread Bakery, and chicken breast from Holdeman Poultry. Be sure to join in the fun by registering for our next class on April 5 where we’ll make sausages from Lucky George Farm, potatoes from Grimm Family Farm, and have wonderful Gouda from Frisian Farms.

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How the Class Works

Once everyone arrived in class we shared wine and introduced ourselves. Amanda Mae Phillips, Des Moines Social Club’s Culinary Director, took a few moments to teach us all about the five basic tastes: sweet, savory, sour, bitter, and umami. In every meal we cook at our Locavore classes we shoot to have every taste represented, because it leads you to feel fuller and more satisfied at the end of the meal. We divided into teams of 2-3 people to tackle the menu Amanda created for our class. Throughout the class Amanda was available for help, but we learned as much cooking with each other as we did from her!

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Tomato Basil Toast with Garlic Rub
We used the tomato herb bread from Daily Bread Bakery, which Ash had to admit she ordered kind of selfishly. We rubbed it with butter and garlic and it made for wonderful toast!

Vegetables with Herbs and Spices
The Des Moines Social Club provided carrots and green beans for the class and we used fresh herbs from their aquaponic display with spices for Allspice to make them even more delicious!

Fettuccine with Chicken
The star of the show was Zaza’s Pastas Fettuccine with herbed chicken breast from Holdeman Poultry. This was a big hit with everyone! It was easy to say it was the best chicken breast all of us had ever had and trying multiple kinds of pasta from Zaza’s was a real treat.

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What Did People Say?

Once the meal was complete we sat as a group to enjoy our food and talk about why eating local is so important. It was great to have Bob Howard from Country View Dairy present, as well as IFC members Inger Lamb and Rita Pray. A few students from the first class also joined us. We all agreed that even if it wasn’t good for our environment and community, eating local is still worthwhile because the food tastes so good!

This “casual but gently overseen” framework led to lots of fun conversation, wine and opportunity to learn cooking tips and locavore lore from Amanda and other attendees.  When we were done cooking the dishes were laid out buffet style so we could load our plates and sit down to enjoy the results of our efforts.  We chose from chicken breasts in a Greek yogurt –based “cream” sauce, cinnamon carrots, balsamic green beans, vinaigrette-tossed salad, several pasta flavors and garlic bread.  All were delicious and made all the better for having been part of our very recent cooking party.

It was a great opportunity to have a nice meal while meeting other people interested in cooking with local foods.  Many kudos to Ash and her team  –  I’ll be at the next event in this series, on April 5!

-Inger Lamb, IFC member and class attendee

That was a lot of fun last night. And what a great meal they all ended up putting together. Fun to be around so many “Locavores”

-Bob Howard, Country View Dairy producer and class attendee

As local food lovers it was refreshing to enjoy an amazing meal without having to do all the work, pick up a few new tricks, and get to take home leftovers. Included in the course fee was culinary instruction from DMSC’s Culinary Director, wine, a delicious meal, leftovers to take home, and a great selection of yogurt from Country View Dairy!

Register for April’s Class Here!

 

An Inside Look: Country Roads Produce

The Seals Family at Country Roads Produce wanted to give Iowa Food Coop customers an update about what’s happening at their farm. They’re cutting back on their sales through IFC for the next few cycles while they prep their high tunnel for the first crop of tomatoes. We thought we’d take the opportunity to give you a behind the scenes look into a veggie grower’s life.

Country Roads Produce has provided us with amazing, high quality produce throughout the winter, including carrots, Chinese cabbage, kohlbrabi, lettuce, and more. We know our customers (IFC staff included) have looked forward to fresh veggies from Country Roads’ heated high tunnel.

 

Baby tomatoes waiting to be transplanted.

Baby tomatoes germinating in the greenhouse.

 

As consumers who have spent most of our lives shopping in conventional grocery stores it’s easy to forget that farmers grow food according to seasons and weather. At IFC we’re lucky to have several producers growing year-round in greenhouses and high tunnels, which means we can all enjoy fresh lettuce during a blizzard! The downside is that we have producers fall off for periods of time while they prepare for the next season. The old adage is really true in this case: A farmer’s work is never done.

 

High tunnels are not just a place for growing veggies on our farm, but also a great place to "grow" better ball players. The first game of catch for 2016.

High tunnels are not just a place for growing veggies on our farm, but also a great place to “grow” better ball players. The first game of catch for 2016.

 

While we’re sad we won’t see Country Roads Produce listing for the next few weeks, we are excited for what is to come. This summer they will have tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, sweet corn, and cucumbers. They specialize in high tunnel tomato and pepper production, and hope their customers can enjoy a great tasting tomato in June. We can’t wait!

-I feel like I have bags of gold when I bring home my order from the coop! (3)

 

Locavore Cooking Class at the Des Moines Social Club

This spring Iowa Food Cooperative is hosting the first Locavore Cooking Class series at the Des Moines Social Club. The first class in the series was January 5 and was a fantastic time! The theme was cooking with storage vegetables and featured frozen corn and apples from Iowa Choice Harvest, fresh greens and sweet potatoes from Lee’s Greens, and carrots from Huber Family Farm. Be sure to join in the fun by registering for our next class on February 2 where we’ll make Fettuccine Alfredo using Country View Dairy yogurt, Zaza’s Pastas, and Pickle Creek Herbal Garlic!

Local Food Cooking Classes

How the Class Works

Once everyone arrived in class we shared a champagne toast and introduced ourselves. Amanda Mae Phillips, Des Moines Social Club’s Culinary Director, said every time you cook it’s a celebration. We agree, especially if you’re cooking with fresh local ingredients! We divided into teams of 2-3 people to tackle the menu Amanda created for our class. Throughout the class Amanda was available for help, but we learned as much cooking with each other as we did from her!

Copy of 3 Easy WaysYou Can HelpIFC Find NewMembers!(6)

Salad with Corn-Apple Topping
One team created a warm topping for our salad mix from Lee’s Greens by heating the frozen sweet corn and apples from Iowa Choice Harvest and adding in pomelo, champagne, and seasoning for extra flavor.

Sweet Potato Wedges
We sliced our sweet potatoes from Lee’s Greens and coated them thoroughly with olive oil and spices from AllSpice. Then we grilled them until they were crispy but soft.

Carrot Gratin
The star of the show was Carrots Au Gratin made with Huber Family Farm Bolero carrots, WW Homestead Dairy Butter, and La Quercia pancetta. This was rich, creamy, and delicious!

Copy of 3 Easy WaysYou Can HelpIFC Find NewMembers!(7)

What Did People Say?

Once the meal was complete we sat as a group to enjoy our food and talk about why eating local is so important. We all agreed that even if it wasn’t good for our environment and community, eating local is still worthwhile because the food tastes so good!

It was so fun learning new ways to cook with local food! I love that the IFC is doing this and definitely plan to attend future classes.

-Shelene Billups, IFC member and class attendee

This class was both entertaining *and* educational! I learned how to turn locally sourced ingredients to fancy-pants dishes that could impress friends and family alike! The best part was sitting around with my classmates, enjoying the delicious foods we prepared and extolling the virtues of local veggies and the perfect egg sandwich. I will definitely be attending future classes.

-Liz Johnson, class attendee

As local food lovers it was refreshing to enjoy an amazing meal without having to do all the work, pick up a few new tricks, and get to take home leftovers. Included in the course fee was culinary instruction from DMSC’s Culinary Director, champagne, a delicious meal, leftovers to take home, and a bag of salad greens from Lee’s Greens!

Register for February’s Class Here!

6 Reasons to Eat Local in 2016

The New Year is well underway and our resolutions are going strong or forgotten. At Iowa Food Coop, we feel strongly there’s one resolution we should all commit to keeping: Eating local. Luckily, eating local is a great resolution to keep because it supports so many of things we want in our lives. Things like being healthier, being part of a community, and trying new things. Here are six reasons why you should eat local in 2016.

Copy of 3 Easy WaysYou Can HelpIFC Find NewMembers!(4)

1. Healthier, fresher food. Most of us start the new year with a goal of being healthier. We start going to the gym more, eat more salad and fewer chips, and pull out that yoga mat that was collecting dust in the corner of our living room. One way to stay on track with your healthy eating goals is to buy more fresh, local produce. You’ll find the food is more flavorful and lasts longer, which makes eating healthier more joyful. It tastes fresher because it is fresher. The salad mix you ordered was picked the day before you picked it up and traveled fifty miles instead of 1,500 miles.

2. Try something new! Maybe you said you’d try something new every week or every day in 2016. Maybe you have a Pinterest board full of bucket list items. If you’re adventurous you’ll love eating local and you’ll really love shopping at IFC. Our producers are always adding unique items like aronia berry brats, cardoon, and lard. Challenge yourself by ordering something you’ve never tried during every cycle. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite food!

3. A greater connection with your environment. By eating local food you’ll automatically learn about when foods are in season. You’ll find meals that represent winter to you, like hearty soups with lots of root vegetables, and meals that represent summer to you, like sweet corn and BLT’s. You will know that goats produce milk after they give birth, that you can eat the beet greens as well as the roots, and if you pay attention to what your local farmers are sharing on Facebook you might learn about farming too. Maybe you’ll start growing a few things yourself… or maybe you’ll decide to leave that to the professionals.

4. Become part of something bigger than yourself. When you eat local you do so much more than “just” eat local. At IFC we’ve seen our members and producers become friends who exchange holiday cards and congratulate each other on weddings and babies. At our annual meeting each year our members and producers sit together to share food and talk about the challenges and triumphs of farming, the environment, health, and the meaning of life. Okay, maybe not the meaning of life, but we wouldn’t put it past our members. By eating local you’re supporting a different kind of community that cares for each other.

5. Support Iowa’s economy. You love shopping in the East Village, bought your bike from the Des Moines Bike Collective, and prefer local restaurants to chains. You’re proud to be from Iowa and have the Iowa Native or Transplant sticker on your bumper to prove it. According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 you spend locally $68 of that comes back to your community in the way of taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. When you shop at a national chain, only $43 comes back. And shifting just 5% of your out-of-area spending to support local produces and businesses would have a $1 billion impact on Greater Des Moines.

6. Local food preserves Iowa farmland and makes Iowa a more beautiful place to live. If you’ve ever visited one of our producer’s farms, or any diversified farm, you know they are beautiful places. Imagine if the drive across Iowa had more diversified farms raising vegetables, meat, dairy, and flowers, for miles and miles. It would be magical, but those farms and barns won’t be there for future generations if we don’t support them today.