iGrow South Dakota local food launches
The online local food information center, iGrowSDlocalfoods.org, launched this month, as a site that offers one place to find information related to South Dakota local food entrepreneurship, community food projects, research and training.
A Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) of $50,000, awarded by USDA Rural Development to SDSU Extension, helped fund the development of the site. The clearinghouse provides information on education and community gardens, handling and processing guidance for food products, marketing and sales venue education, regulation and certification information and information on current topics and upcoming events.
“This project meets the requests of producers in the state who find it difficult to start-up or enhance businesses. Currently producers wade through various websites and agencies trying to find answers, and this can cause frustration and discouragement,” said Chris Zdorovtsov, Community Development Field Specialist, SDSU Extension.
A South Dakota farmer’s market manager recently inquired, “Is there one place where farmers market vendors can see all the rules that apply to vendors—what they can sell, what they can’t sell, the testing of canned goods, rules for eggs, cheese, raw milk, beef, rules about scales weights and measures, rules about free samples, etc?”
The local foods center will create structured connections between local growers and resource providers.
This site will serve Tier 0-2 in the food system. The food system model by UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems define the different tiers of focus as:
- Tier 0 is the base level for food production that includes the development of community gardens, school gardens, and community kitchens. These projects can be the foundational blocks for individuals advancing into business ventures.
- Tier 1 involves the direct selling of a product from a producer to a consumer through venues such as farmer’s markets, farm stands or store, community supported agriculture (CSAs), or mail order.
- Tier 2 develops strategic partners in the supply chain by linking a producer to a local ‘middle-man’ such as a school, hospital, food co-op, grocery store and or local/regional distributor.
As the site continues to build, content to support this wide range of local food activity will be added. It will allow partners from across the state to supplying content. Partners for the project include Buy Fresh, Buy Local South Dakota, Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, The South Dakota Value Added Agriculture Center, and USDA Rural Development and SDSU Extension.
Community Development Field Specialist
2001 E. 8th St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57103