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Assessing the Market Potential of Specialty Forest Products in Local Food Systems of Iowa --Carole Teator, Trees Forever Project Development Director A presentation for The Association for Temperate Agroforestry Ninth North American Agroforestry Conference Moving Agroforestry into the Mainstream June 12-15, 2005 Rochester, Minnesota The Trees Forever Mission To plant and care for trees and the environment by empowering people, building community and
promoting stewardship. 15 Years of AwardWinning Programs Founded in 1989 by two volunteers Nonprofit organization Staff of 18 in Iowa and Illinois Headquartered in Iowa Major Program Areas Community and Urban Forestry Transportation Corridor Enhancements Streamside Buffers and Water Quality National Educational Projects Improving Water Quality in Iowa and Illinois 1,292,000 trees and shrubs
planted for buffers and in wetlands 30,042 volunteer hours contributed Agroforestry efforts Trees Forever is seeking to: increase the adoption of agroforestry practices to complement more conventional agriculture in Iowa and Illinois build partnerships Study made possible by a grant from the
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Established by 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act to support the development of profitable farming practices that conserve natural resources. Surveys conducted by Trees Forevers Roger Hunt, Jo Ann McNiel, and Carole Teator Purpose of Study To build the case for agroforestry as a way to diversify farm crops and income sources for smallto mid-sized farmers.
Premise of Study Different from other studies conducted in the Midwest Focused on market potential within already developing local food chains. Premise of Study Tapping Into Established Networks Trees Forevers own network of landowners participating in Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond Program. Several producers already marketing produce within local food system networks; SFPs can be an opportunity to expand their crops and seasons.
Wholesale produce auctions potential venue for marketing SFPs. Local Food Systems Iowa leads the nation in the number of farmers markets and has a healthy number of Community Supported Agriculture operations (CSAs). Groups supporting these producers: Iowa Network for Community Agriculture Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Regional Food Systems Working Group Practical Farmers of Iowa Scope of Study A snapshot study in north central and southeastern Iowa of growers and buyers
of non-timber specialty forest products (such as fruit, nuts, woody decorative florals). Participants and products Producers Interviewed 21 growers. Farm sizes ranged from 1 acres to 415 acres. Larger operators saw agroforestry practices as a way to provide habitat, conserve and stabilize soil, and improve farm aesthetics. Smaller producers planted woody perennials primarily to stabilize soil, with additional interest in diversifying crops and extending their seasons. Few developed marketing researchsome cited pull of CSA requests or agritainment opportunities.
Participants and products Buyers Interviewed 15 buyers. Some cited local products as commanding a premium . . . if they are well-labeled. Some saw local products as less expensive. All concerned about the quality of products, reliability of delivery, and competitive pricing. Most defined the latter as free. Products Number of Growers Edible Crops Being Marketed 4 3 2 1
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ee r T Needs Cited by Producers Growers expressed a need for assistance with the marketing and distribution of nontimber forest products. Many suggested the need for cooperatives and brokers. Successful case study: Southeast Iowa Nut Growers Cooperative Results Growers are growing as much as they want to; buyers want more supply.
Theres room in the market for more growers. Theres a large gap between research/experience and producers and small retail buyers. Take-home Message More education and outreach is needed about growing and marketing niche tree crops. These crops: Diversify farm operations; Improve wildlife habitat; and Provide opportunities for recreation, community, and local and regional ecological enhancement. Thank you.
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