Matt Russell has been the State Food Policy Project Coordinator at Drake Agricultural Law Center since April 2006. In his first project he served as the Iowa Food Products Coordinator in a public-private partnership between Drake University and the office of Governor Tom Vilsack to look for opportunities for the State of Iowa to help grow the Iowa food economy. Currently he coordinates the Greater Des Moines Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign and works with farms, businesses, government agencies, and non-profits to develop opportunities for Iowa grown foods. Matt grew up on a family farm near Anita in Cass County, received his B.A. from Loras College in Dubuque, and studied for the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. In 2003 he earned an M.S. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University, with a concentration in community food systems. In addition to his work at Drake, Matt and a partner operate Coyote Run Farm, a 110 acre farm in rural Lacona and market fresh produce, eggs and meat at farmers markets and other local outlets. He also serves as the board chair of the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture.
Before coming to Drake, Matt worked as an organizer for Iowa Citizen Action Network, a statewide consumer advocacy non-profit and for the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, an advocacy and educational organization working towards sustainable food systems and vibrant rural communities throughout Iowa, across the nation, and around the world. Matt taught morality, social justice, and journalism at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sociology at Des Moines Area Community College. In his work in the arena of food and agriculture, Matt has traveled to 26 states, the District of Columbia, Scotland, Italy, and Cuba.