The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University has awarded grants to 19 projects to help people who grow and sell food locally. Rich Pirog oversees the projects for the center and says one of the goals is to help farmers and growers to find new markets that make it profitable to sell their wares. He says a second area helps producers enhance and develop their business and entrepreneurial skills. He says that includes a grant to Indian Hills Community College so they can create a curriculum for producers at the school’s Centerville campus. Pirog says a third phase of the grants tracks the projects to see if they’re effective. He says they want to see what the impact is to the community and the state. He says they want to know if they’re creating new job opportunities, and what kind of economic impact they’re creating. One of the grants looks to help grape growers and wineries in eastern Iowa create the state’s first American Viticultural Area. He says the American Viticultural Area or A-V-A is a geographic-based viticulture area that would be much like the Napa Valley in California. He says there are 170 such areas in the U.S. Pirog says the A-V-A has certain requirements. He says 85-percent of the grapes used to make the wines for the branded identity have to come from that geographic area. He says that gives the grapegrowers something unique they can produce that can’t be made somewhere else and called the same thing.
You are here: / / Grants seek to help increase local food markets