Iowa Food & Family Project cooks up new conversations about food and farming

Iowa Food & Family Project cooks up new conversations about food and farming

Posted April 17, 2015

There’s no such thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen” when it comes to sharing first-hand information about the safe and wholesome food raised sustainably by Iowa farmers.

It’s a story the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) takes pride in telling. And new this year, the Iowa FFP is adding a few ingredients to its unique offering of consumer-focused activities with the goal of building greater confidence in today’s farm and food system.

Cristen Clark, a farmer and competitive baker, will join Iowa Girl Eats blogger Kristin Porter in an effort to spark conversations among Iowans about today’s farm and food system.

“Some of my most-treasured childhood memories stem from time in the kitchen,” said Clark, also a blogger and mother of two who raises hogs with her husband, Mike, near Runnells, just south of Des Moines. “Learning about food is so engrained in how I was raised that I often take for granted my ability to be trusting—not fearful—in the food choices I make.”

The sixth-generation farmer joins Porter, who, despite being raised in Iowa, had never stepped foot on a farm until she partnered with the Iowa FFP on her inaugural journey into agriculture in 2013.

“I’m an Iowa girl through and through, but until I teamed up with Iowa FFP, my ‘farm visits’ were limited to seasonal trips to the farmers’ market, an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch,” said Porter. “While I’ve learned a lot about agriculture along the way, I think perhaps the biggest takeaway I had from each visit was the assurance that the farmer I just met does everything he or she can to raise quality food for their families, neighbors, communities and state.”

Starting this month, Clark and Porter will team up in a quest to connect food-minded Iowans with the people who provide, prepare and serve food, including retailers. The duo will partner with farmers and a dedicated team of Hy-Vee, Inc., chefs and dietitians throughout the state to share background on production methods, health information, food preparation and more.

“People are having these conversations and it’s important for Hy-Vee to be involved in the dialogue,” said Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee. “We’re dedicated to making our customers’ lives easier, healthier and happier and are pleased to join the Iowa Food & Family Project to provide consumers a greater understanding of their food so they can be informed and empowered.”

Together, Porter, Clark and Hy-Vee will be involved in a variety of events and activities including:

Iowa Food and Family Cookbook: a compilation of nearly 60 recipes from Porter, Clark, Hy-Vee dietitians, farmers and Iowa FFP partners. Iowans can receive their complimentary copies at events where the Iowa FFP will have a presence, including in-store events at Hy-Vee, the Des Moines and Beaverdale Farmers’ Markets and Iowa State Fair.

Recipe Refresh: the opportunity to win a makeover and shopping experience—with food! Winners of Recipe Refresh events will be chosen from throughout the state and will join Hy-Vee dietitians, area farmers and bloggers as they shop for ingredients to prepare their favorite recipes in-store while also stocking their carts with groceries, courtesy of the Iowa FFP.

Make it & Take it: An Iowa FFP-version of Hy-Vee’s popular “DISH” (Dinner is Solved at Hy-Vee) program, this dinner club event welcomes food-minded Iowans to participate in an informational, hands-on cooking demonstration alongside farm group leaders and a Hy-Vee chef and dietitian.

Porter looks forward to all that this partnership will bring.

“It’s been an awesome journey and I can’t wait to share the next chapter with Cristen, our friends at Hy-Vee and, most importantly, the food-minded Iowans who want to learn more about food and farming.”

Visit for more information including events dates, locations and registration details.