To advance organic opportunities by fostering education, research, promotion and market development and policy.
The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the advancement of Iowa’s organic food and farming system. IOA was founded in 2006 and serves as an umbrella association to represent all of Iowa’s organic farmers, gardeners, food and farm businesses and consumers in building a more sustainable Iowa.
Our Three Core Concentration Areas:
1. Policy – IOA serves as a unified voice for the Iowa organic community to educate and work with the Iowa Legislature to advance the interests of Iowa’s organic farmers and businesses.
2. Education – Through a network of farmers, handlers, processors, researchers, policy makers, consumers and other organizations, IOA strives to raise awareness of the health benefits of organic foods and the economic benefits of organic agriculture. IOA also strives to expand and strengthen the Iowa organic farming community through producer education, farmer-to-farmer information exchange, and by connecting researchers and organic farmers to ensure that the academic research meets the practical needs of certified organic farmers.
3. Organic Community - IOA strives to create opportunities for organic producers, consumers, and businesses to support each other in growing a vibrant organic community in Iowa through networking, celebration, and collaboration.
Iowa has always been in the forefront of leadership and advancements in agriculture. In 2006, a group of certified organic growers came together to provide leadership from successful organic farmers so that Iowa’s organic agriculture can grow and prosper as agricultural markets evolve. These founders felt that organic was one of the best solutions for maintaining a family-farm system of agriculture in Iowa. The founders recognized that we are in danger of losing business to foreign competition by our failure to identify and pursue the opportunities available to us. Economically, it is important to have more of our processing and manufacturing of organic foods here in our own state.
Activities at the state level in policy, legislation and regulation served as the impetus for the formation of an association that would represent all of Iowa organic agriculture. A steering committee of nine individuals was formed in March 2006 with the task of laying down the groundwork for such an organization.
Throughout the first ten years of the organization, IOA was involved as an important grassroots partner in a number of agricultural research projects, it gained a growing and consistent presence for Iowa organic agriculture at the Iowa State Fair, and represented the interests of Iowa organic farmers at the state policy level. In 2015, with a change in board and staff leadership, the organization polled all organic stakeholders throughout Iowa to develop a strategic plan to lead it into the organization’s second decade. The strategic plan was completed in November 2015 and is posted here: http://www.iowaorganic.org/strategic_plan.
The plan outlines three concentration areas that Iowa organic stakeholders feel are most needed to grow a strong statewide organic food and farming system. Policy work on pesticide drift, GMOs and water quality are of utmost importance to organic farmers and other organic stakeholders. Education for organic growers as well as transitioning and new farmers was identified as necessary to fulfill the US domestic supply of organic grains as well as state-level demand for organic food. Finally, growing a strong organic community will be a focus for the organization, as many organic growers are isolated in our very rural state and want IOA to help facilitate networking opportunities and celebration of organic food and farming to support our growing industry and farmer community in Iowa.