CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - They're aiming to support the local food system by connecting growers and producers, businesses and consumers.
Throughout the summer, Healthy Harvest of North Iowa has been hosting Connection Field Days to give customers a chance to visit with local food producers and businesses that support them, as part of their North Iowa Local Food Connection. On Sunday, their Field Day took them to Clear Lake's Simply Nourished, which is stocked with products from North Iowa and areas within a 200 mile radius, including in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Executive Director Marie Boyd says the goal of the program is to encourage more consumers to know where their food comes from, as well as buying local. But Boyd adds that supporting local producers is for more than just economic reasons.
"There's also health benefits. Things that are grown locally often have higher nutrient content because it's not traveling as far and it's fresher. There is also an environmental impact you're talking about. If you're talking about transportation, it takes less gas, and there's a lot of focus on environmental issues on our farms as well."
In addition, the group supports Simply Nourished's mission of providing a starting point for producers to break into wholesale.
"We love it because for our local producers, it's a great space for our smaller producers to be able to get their foot into the door into the wholesale market. We love farmer's markets, but they close up in October, so it allows folks to get access to local products year round. We love this business."
If you're interested in participating in a future Field Day, another season will begin in January.