• Staci Hemesath, RDN, LD

Iowa Farm to ECE Policy Development in Progress!

In early summer 2019, State Public Policy Group (SPPG) began working with the Iowa Farmer’s Union through a grant provided by WK Kellogg to find new ways to get more local food into the hands of children across the state. Thus, the Local Food, Healthy Kids policy initiative began with its partners – North East Iowa Food and Fitness, Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach – to canvass the state and identify the barriers members of a potential local food system are facing.

So far, SPPG has focused on policy development. To do this, we have traveled the state to meet with various members of a potential food system-- including stakeholders from the farming network, early childhood community and state agencies—to conduct interviews about the current work around engaging children and their families in a local food system. From there, we were able to help them identify the barriers that they were facing and possible policy solutions that could help them overcome these barriers. Currently, SPPG is working on a policy document containing the data and policy solutions collected from all of our stakeholder meetings. In collaboration with the Iowa Farmer’s Union, we will narrow down the key policy objectives that stakeholders would like to prioritize.

In the coming months, this policy document will be available to the public. As we exit this year’s legislative session, SPPG will begin to develop, solidify, and share an advocacy plan for the prioritized policy objectives. We will continue to work with our partners to provide advocacy trainings for the network we have begun to establish in Iowa ahead of the 2021 legislative session. With sustained effort towards this project, we hope to accomplish these policy goals with our partners and network over the coming years.

A note about the author: Emilee Harris is a project coordinator at State Public Policy Group (SPPG), advocating on issues important to Iowa's children.

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