Mission, Vision and Core Values


To contribute to community resiliency and wellness by strengthening our Tri-State food system


Producers, consumers, and institutions collaborating to grow an equitable and sustainable food system

Core Values


We value the importance of partnerships and personal relationships in transforming the local food system. We seek cross-cutting opportunities and creative collaborations that solve multiple problems.

  • We value connections across the system in terms of the personal relationships between people and within the natural world.
  • Our network welcomes input and involvement by community members from diverse backgrounds and disciplines who contribute their passion, expertise and skills, from farmers to consumers.


We assert that all residents, regardless of their race/ethnicity/nationality, neighborhood of residence – rural or urban, or other characteristics, should be able to fully participate in the economic and cultural success of the local food system and connect with its assets and resources.

  • Wealth and equity A local food system should enable enhanced economic and social development for more people as well as greater neighborhood and community vitality
  • Affordability & Access All Dubuque-area residents should be able to purchase healthy, safe food at a reasonable cost. Reasonable transportation, wages, accessible healthy retail food outlets, public/community assistance, and other factors make this possible.
  • Empowerment Dubuque-area residents should be able to participate actively in the transformation of the food system and participate in decision-making processes, leading towards a broad-base of local ownership and control of the system.


Definitions of the term “healthy foods” vary depending on the source and context.  For our purposes, we use the term in a general way to suggest foods that are safely produced and handled, and which provide essential nutrients and support health of the community. We prioritize foods that are fresh, local, and minimally processed. We seek to align our efforts with those working to prevent and reduce rates of diet-related illnesses including diabetes and obesity.


We believe extending local food education opportunities to a broad range of audiences will create a well-rounded community capable of participating fully in the transformation of the food system in the greater Dubuque area.

  • Consumers   We believe that when consumers know how to access and  prepare local foods, and fully understand the environmental, economic, and health impacts of the production of their food, they will make choices that will drive demand, thus creating an engine for food system transformation. Children are a particular priority for food and farm education.
  • Producers  In an expanded and diversified food system, beginning, aspiring and established producers are able to access appropropriate training and individualized education to thrive. With many of our area’s farmers aging, recruiting and providing beginning and aspiring farmers with support to overcome major barriers including: access to land, capital, mentorship, training and infrastructure is a particular priority.
  • Processors and Distributors  we seek to develop and support efficient infrastructures that connect producers and markets
  • Buyers  Local food buyers of all sizes (from caterers to institutions) will have opportunities to increase their knowledge of local sourcing opportunities, learn best practices for safe and practical purchasing, and be empowered with tools to effectively utilize, promote, and be recognized for their participation in the local food economy
  • Promotion & Awareness- We value creative and innovative promotional campaigns, reminders, and messaging that draws out commitments, fosters engagement, or recognizes generative actions taken by stakeholders across the food system


We support the improvement of some of our region’s natural assets, including soil, water, and biological diversity. These finite resources are the foundation for our food system and our lives. We seek to act upon the natural world in such a way that not only reduces harm, but increases resilience in the face of environmental impacts and other threats to food security.

  • We seek to prevent pollution using techniques and practices ranging from food recovery to energy efficiency.
  • We seek to increase our community’s use of renewable resources including clean energy sources and reduce reliance on non-renewable agricultural inputs.
  • We seek to develop systems rooted in biodiversity which enrich soil health and improve water quality.

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