PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — Residents of Pleasant Hill, a Polk County community of 9,000, will soon have access to an online ordering system for local foods. The city is partnering with the Iowa Food Cooperative on a two-month pilot project to gauge the community’s interest in purchasing Iowa-grown food products.
“This is one of our quickest successes as part of the agricultural urbanism process, and showcases the opportunities of building relationships across sectors,” said Courtney Long, program coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Pleasant Hill will have an opportunity to offer local products to residents, in which many of them have expressed interest, while also helping the Iowa Food Cooperative test out a new distribution location, which supports numerous farmers across Iowa.”
Residents, employees, and organizations in Pleasant Hill can order local products from Iowa farmers and artisans through the online farmers market. Orders are picked up biweekly at the Pleasant Hill Public Library. The first shopping cart opened on Nov. 26 for pick-up on Dec. 8. Customers can place orders online at: iowafood.coop.
Pleasant Hill is working with ISU as an Ag Urbanism Toolkit community. Through a competitive application process, the city was chosen to work with the ISU Local Foods and Community Economic Development programs to design a food system for the community that incorporates its goals and values. The Iowa Food Cooperative pilot project was identified as a quick-win opportunity for collaboration between organizations. Throughout the rest of the year, there will be opportunities for Pleasant Hill residents to give feedback about additional projects and programs residents would like to see.
If the pilot program is successful, Pleasant Hill could be an additional permanent distribution site for the coop, which has offered its customers biweekly delivery of local products ordered online since its inception in 2008. Today, nearly 70 producers are approved to sell hundreds of products through the coop, which delivers orders to nearly 1,000 customers, mainly in the Des Moines metro area. Pleasant Hill would become the seventh distribution site outside of metropolitan Des Moines.
For more information about the program, including ordering, delivery dates, and available products, visit: pleasanthilliowa.org/ iowafood.coop.
To learn more about the Ag Urbanism Toolkit program, visit: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/localfoods, or email Courtney Long at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Leigh Adcock, communications specialist, Local Foods Team, Leopold Center For Sustainable Agriculture
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