UI film to showcase local producers near RAGBRAI route
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Farmers' markets in southern Iowa will be in the spotlight thanks to a partnership between the Southern Iowa Resource Conservation & Development Area and the University of Iowa. 

The UI Department of Cinematic Arts is creating a video to promote farmers' markets and their importance to local communities for the Southern Iowa RC&D, a nonprofit based in Creston. The video will be completed by the end of the summer and released on the RC&D webpage and other social media outlets during the 2017 farmers’ market season.

"The goal of the video is to shine a light on rural farmers’ markets and emphasize how important they are to our communities," says Alexi Groumoutis, a local foods coordinator for the RC&D. "With the right support, specialty-crop growers are able to make an income on the food they grow, and consumers are able to enjoy vibrant food that was grown within a few miles of their doorstep."

Follow riders across the state—and learn about the University of Iowa’s impact all along the route—on social media by using #RAGBRAI2016 and #forIowa.

Groumoutis is applying for a federal grant, in which the video will be included, as part of a project called Growing Farmers and Farmers’ Markets that aims to establish and promote farmers’ markets in the RC&D region, which includes Adair, Adams, Clarke, Taylor, Decatur, Ringgold, and Union counties.

In its efforts to promote locally grown food, the RC&D created the Food Service Resource Guide, a convenient manual designed to give restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions a starting point to access locally sourced food in southwest Iowa; conducted food demonstrations on how to handle and prepare fresh vegetables from farmers’ markets; and published information on how producing, processing, distributing, selling, preparing, and eating locally sourced food can interconnect a community’s economic, ecological, and social wellbeing.

The RC&D has partnered with the UI Office of Outreach and Engagement to bring cultural projects to communities in southern Iowa before, but this is the first time it has collaborated with the UI in this way.

Past events have included hosting writers' workshops in the region through the UI's Arts Share program and a book tour stopping last summer at Corning Winery in Corning for the release of the UI Office of the State Archaeologist's book, The Archaeological Guide to Iowa.

Want to learn more about farmers' markets in the region? Click here for locations, dates of operations, and produce selection.