Local Food Challenge

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media


Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of those places. Problem number one is infrastructure. The Yampa River Valley in Colorado is known for its meat. You can find a slice of that rich ranching...

Sean Powers / Harvest Public Media

With farm to table restaurants springing up left and right , cooks are having to go beyond the grocery store. That’s why about a dozen chefs from Chicago and central Illinois recently gathered for a two-day crash course on where their food comes from – the farm. Each year in June and September, central Illinois farmer Marty Travis hosts chefs on his farm for Chef Champ, a project of a foundation he and his wife started that promotes small, sustainable family farming. The chefs are there to...

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This is the third story in a three-part series " The Local Food Challenge " from Harvest Public Media . The smell of baking dinner rolls fills the kitchen at Decorah High School in northeast Iowa. As two kitchen workers mix a fresh broccoli salad, another, Chad Elliott, ladles tomato soup from a large metal pot on the stove into white plastic buckets for delivery to the town’s elementary schools. Elliott says most of the food served in the district is made from scratch and many ingredients...

Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

This is the second story in a three-part series called The Local Food Challenge from Harvest Public Media . Farm stands and farmers markets remain really important for many local farmers, but U.S. consumers barely buy any food directly from farms. That’s why local farmers are trying to crack in to the big institutional markets such as grocery stores, work cafeterias, schools and hospitals. Local food sales numbers are hard to come by, but direct-to-consumer sales accounted for just .8 percent...

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This is the first of three stories about local food from Harvest Public Media .


As Food Corps service member Ashley Turk navigates her way through a brand-new greenhouse in the courtyard at Waukon High School in the northeast corner of Iowa, she points to a robust supply of red and green lettuce leaves growing neatly in rows. “It’s huge,” she says. “We cut it off and it just keeps growing.” The greenhouse lettuce is among the offerings in the school’s salad bar. And...