By Sally Stutsman
DES MOINES– Veterans leaving the military will hear about all Iowa has to offer under a new jobs program. The program, Home Base Iowa, will be a public-private partnership that will advertise to service members leaving the military in the hopes that they come to Iowa and join the workforce. In addition to advertising to veterans, Iowa Workforce Development will act as a one stop shop, directing veterans to available job openings that match their skills and answer any questions they may have. Veterans looking for employment can visit http://www.iowaworkforce.org/veterans  for information and assistance. The initiative will be co-chaired by former congressman Leonard Boswell and Casey’s General Store CEO Bob Meyers. It has a fundraising goal of $6 million dollars.
New report shows local
foods help Iowa’s economy
A new report from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University shows that institutional purchases of local food added nearly $9 million to the Iowa economy in 2012. The evaluation tracked local food purchases by grocery stores, restaurants and institutions, and sales from Iowa farm-based enterprises that marketed their products locally in 2012. Nearly 180 businesses and individuals participated in the data collection effort, including 74 buyers and 103 producers of local foods. The evaluation also measured job creation as a result of local food production, processing or utilization. The report said the 74 buyers spent an average $120,700 on local foods, or about 8.7 percent of their total food budget. If local food purchases were increased to 30 percent of the total food budget, an additional $21.5 million in sales would have been generated, leading to the creation of 71 new full-time buyer-based jobs. Less than half of one percent of the estimated 22,000 institutional and intermediary markets in Iowa participated in this evaluation. The report also noted that investigators measured significant sales from only a small segment of potential markets for local foods among grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, college and school food services, and other institutions. This means there are enormous opportunities for local foods in Iowa that could benefit rural communities and farm-based businesses if it was expanded to more institutions. The statewide report, 2012 Economic Impacts of Iowa’s Regional Food Systems Working Group, is available on the Leopold Center website at: www.leopold.iastate.edu/local-food .