July 15, 2019
Contact: Roz Lehman

July 15, 2019
Contact: Rosalyn Lehman, executive director:  [email protected] | 515-608-8622

Successful Marketing and Distribution Opportunities for Organic Vegetables

Field Day:  July 25, 4-7 p.m., River Root Farm, Decorah, Iowa

Decorah, Iowa. The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is delivering a free field day for farmers and others interested in learning from local experts about the process, resources, and opportunities for organic vegetable production, and successful marketing strategies and distribution methods using a food hub system.

This organic Field Day will be held on Thursday, July 25, 2019, from 4 – 7 p.m. at River Root Farm in Decorah, Iowa. Participants will tour the organic farm and gain first-hand knowledge from Mike Bollinger and Katie Prochaska, owners and farmers at River Root Farm, about their innovative and profitable business practices.  Mike and Katie grow organic vegetables, salad greens, microgreens, cut flowers and spring transplants on their 20 acre organic family farm and greenhouse – though much of their production takes place on just one acre.

Mike and Katie began River Root Farm in 2009, but have been farming organically with mentors and partners since 2001 when they met while serving in the Peace Corp in West Africa. This experience provided an awareness about the value of food from a health and economic perspective, but also led to the pursuit of growing food using a production system good for our bodies and the land. Mike shares that “organic production provides many local benefits, and the organic label provides an assurance, a guarantee to our consumers of how their food was produced.”

River Root Farm sells wholesale, organic food to restaurants and co-ops through a food hub system. Food hubs are essentially the “middlemen” connecting wholesale organic food with restaurants and co-ops.  Food hubs help provide opportunities for small farmers to make the jump from selling at roadside stands and farmers markets to selling larger quantities at stores and restaurants. Mike and Katie developed a business model that fulfilled their personal production goals, as well as market demands that weren't being met by others in the community.

Mike and Katie will discuss the farm’s history, their organic production practices and how they successfully market and distribute their products through food hubs and co-ops in northeast Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Teresa Wiemerslage, local foods field specialist from ISU Extension, will discuss the local food hub system and how she helps support River Root Farm and other local producers in the area.

A light organic meal will be served after the discussion and walking farm tour. Please RSVP to Kelli Hanson at [email protected] to be included for the meal. 

DIRECTIONS:  1007 Locust Rd, Decorah, IA 52101.  From downtown Decorah, head west on E Main to Washington, St; turn right onto N Mechanic St; turn left on W Water; turn right onto College Dr; after about a mile turn right onto Locust Rd.

View the full schedule for IOA’s Summer Field Day series at www.iowaorganic.org. For more information about the program or the Summer Field Day series, contact Roz Lehman at [email protected] or 515-608-8622.

IOA’s 2019 Summer Field Day series is made possible with support from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency.

The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) is a statewide, 501(c)3  non-profit organization committed to organic education, advocacy and cooperation. Our membership is a diverse community of Iowa’s organic farmers, gardeners, food and farm businesses, advocates and consumers who are devoted to building a more sustainable Iowa. More information at IowaOrganic.org.