Iowa State Trainings: Local Food Leader and Community Food Systems

What’s the training?

OCFSN is partnering with Iowa State University to bring their “Local Food Leader” and “Community Food Systems” trainings to Oregon this summer or early fall. They piloted the trainings in 10 states in 2018. They now want to come to our region.  More detailed descriptions for each one are linked as PDFs, but the basics are:

  • Local Food Leader is intended for beginning local food practitioners but open for anyone interested in food systems development and collaboration. This is a one-day workshop, followed by optional online modules that you take at your own pace. 
  • Community Food Systems is intended for intermediate levels of local food practitioners who are interested in the development of their community food system. This is a two-day workshop, followed by optional online modules that you take at your own pace.

So are we doing both or just one or what?

We need your help (via this survey) to decide. We can do one of three options:

  1. Just LFL (1 day)
  2. Just CFS (2 consecutive days)
  3. Both LFL and CFS (3 consecutive days)

What will it cost, and who is paying?

ISU has funding to cover all of their own costs and is waiving the usual registration fees for the in-person workshop.

The OCFSN Leadership Team is applying for funding to cover participants’ travel and lodging costs.

Participants will only need to pay for any online modules they choose to take afterwards (and ISU is giving us a 50% discount).

  • Local Food Leader has 4 online modules, which together will cost $150 (that includes the discount).
  • Community Food Systems has 6 online modules, which together will cost $275 (including the discount). Or you can select which ones you want (they range from $15 – $150).
  • Again, all modules are optional and come after the workshops, at participants’ own pace.

How many spots are there?

Local Food Leader can have up to 40 participants (1 day workshop).

Community Food Systems can have up to 20 participants (2-day workshop).

When is the training?

It’s up to us, based on our member availability.

The ISU team has offered us three date ranges in July, August, and September. On the survey, you will tell us which dates are best for you.

Where will the training be held?

Same: it’s up to us – based on where potential participants are located, we will choose a location that is most convenient for most of you.

What if I sign up now, and you choose a location or a date that I can’t do?

We’ll do our best to accommodate everyone. If you have to back out once location & date are chosen, we’ll understand.

Can I invite other people in my organization? What about partner organizations?

Yes. If we end up having way more people sign up than we have slots for, we’ll come back to you for help sorting it out.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are really important to OCFSN. Do these trainings address DEI at all?

Yes. The Local Food Leader workshop starts with “Equity: A Foundation to Our Work.”

The pdf about the Community Food Systems training does not have anything on it about equity.


  • ISU usually requires Local Food Leader before you can take Community Food Systems (they are being flexible for us), so they are assuming everyone starts with equity.
  • We learned through other sources that ISU has really strengthened the DEI component across both trainings, in response to feedback from their first year.
  • The ISU trainers know that this is a priority for OCFSN, and we will provide them a lot of info about OCFSN before the training.

OK, I’m interested. Now what?

Please fill out this survey asap, so we can finalize what/when/where this will happen and confirm it all with ISU.

If you want to invite others in your organization or partners, please send them this email with all the info and ask them ALSO to fill out the survey.

And because transparency is important…

What was the process for OCFSN deciding to do this with ISU?

  • The ISU trainers – Kaley Hohenshell and Courtney Long – reached out to me, Lauren Gwin, in March. They wanted to bring their trainings to the Pacific Northwest, and their supervisor, Craig Chase, knows me and thought our OSU Center would be a good host.
  • I collected info about the trainings and brought it to the OCFSN Leadership Team on 3/31. The LT was supportive and had more questions for ISU. I went back to ISU for answers, and Greg Holmes, Sara Miller, and I also had a call with a person at North Carolina State U who had gone through the training.
  • After the Convening, the Exec Council of the Leadership Team reviewed all the material and info and decided it was a good opportunity for OCFSN members and partners (even though many of you know a lot of this material/have had these experiences already, which I have told the ISU trainers). They also decided to raise $$ for travel support for members.