Local Food Systems Tag

Cultivating Our Communities, a partnership with the Illinois Lt. Governor's Office, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, has launched its 2022 campaign spotlighting unique individuals, farms, and businesses. Since 2020, Cultivating Our Communities has showcased more than 85 food and farm businesses through Illinois Farm Bureau Partners and FarmWeekNow.com articles that demonstrate the many ways these businesses uplift rural, suburban, and urban communities across the state. This year's campaign will focus on farms and markets in different regions across the state. ...

Related ATTRA publication: Direct Marketing USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released data from the Local Food Marketing Practices survey. More than 147,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally through direct marketing practices, resulting in $9.0 billion in revenue in 2020. This figure includes more than 40,000 farms that sold food directly to institutions and intermediates ($4.1 billion); direct-to-consumer sales, such as on-farm stores and farmers markets, at $2.9 billion; and sales directly to retailers for $1.9 billion from more than 24,000 operations nationwide. The top five states by value of direct food sales were California, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, and...

Scientists at Iowa State University examined a range of environmental impacts of vegetable production and distribution and found local production offers significant benefits. The published results of this study were selected as Editor's Choice for 2021 in the Journal of Sustainability. The study involved life-cycle analysis for 18 types of vegetables in large-scale conventional production, medium-scale direct-to-consumer production, and individual household production. Several factors were included: greenhouse gas emissions, energy requirements, and water use of plants throughout production, transportation, and consumption. Results from the LCAs show the large-scale production model had significantly greater global warming potential and higher water demand...

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems published "Annotated Bibliography on Structural Racism Present in the U.S. Food System." The ninth edition contains 510 sources, including 25 new videos and 100 new journal citations. This annotated bibliography provides current research and outreach on structural racism in the U.S. food system for the food system practitioner, researcher, educator, and advocate....

A new report from the Appalachian Regional Commission uses USDA Census of Agriculture data to provide an overview of agricultural activity and local food systems throughout the Appalachian Region. Agriculture and Local Food Economies in the Appalachian Region also includes overviews and case studies related to seven emerging opportunities to strengthen the Appalachian Region's local food economies. It highlights innovative approaches for building more thriving and resilient food systems across the region....

Related ATTRA resources: Value-Added Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems published a seventh edition of its Funding Sources for Food-Related Businesses directory. The directory provides an overview of various financing sources available to food-related businesses in Michigan and across the United States. It includes national and local finance opportunities that may be available to farmers, food producers, distributors, food hubs, and other food-related businesses. The directory is divided into four types of funding sources: crowdfunding, start-up accelerator, miscellaneous, and Michigan and federal government resources. There's also a section on writing grant and loan applications. ...

Farmers Market Coalition has an Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit available online to help farmers market managers make progress toward becoming anti-racist managers of anti-racist markets. The Anti-Racist Farmers Market Toolkit was developed by a group of Black food systems leaders and market managers to help offer ways for managers to put the concepts of anti-racism into practice and action within farmers markets. The work is intended to improve market experiences for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and BIPOC communities; however, the authors' lens explicitly centers Black people and Black communities. ...

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) has published the 2022 version of its Local Food Guide. ASAP published its first annual Local Food Guide 20 years ago. The new version is available in print and in a digital online version, as well as a database that is updated year-round. The guide offers hundreds of listings for farms, farmers markets, restaurants, groceries, artisan producers, and travel destinations. There are also charts for finding farms offering u-pick, farm stands, lodging, visitor activities, and CSAs. The online database includes nearly 1,400 listings, searchable by products, locations, activities, and more....

Penn State University researchers published an analysis showing that Pennsylvania farmers markets generate an estimated $100 million in sales each year. The figures were extrapolated from 2021 data that showed 15% of the farmers markets in Pennsylvania generated gross sales of about $18 million. "Farmers markets are more than nice events in our communities," Brian Moyer, Penn State Extension education program associate in business and community vitality, said. "They are essential to our local food economy. Markets provide a common space for farms and food businesses to offer their products and incubate new businesses."...

Related ATTRA resources: Farm to Institution USDA Food and Nutrition Service Farm to School Program has updated and released four fact sheets that provide updated guidance and resources, examples from Farm to School grantees and more. Titles include USDA DoD Fresh Program: A Source for Locally Grown Produce, USDA Foods: A Resource for Maximizing Food Budgets To Buy Local, Local Meat in Schools, and Selling Local Food to Schools: A Resource for Producers....

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is establishing the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program to help states deal with the challenges of supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic. Through the LFS program, USDA will award up to $200 million to states for food assistance purchases of domestic local foods for distribution to schools. This program will strengthen the food system for schools by helping to build a fair, competitive, and resilient local food chain, and expand local and regional markets with an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved producers and processors. Local and regional farmers and ranchers are...

In Minnesota, a Statewide Cooperative Partnership for Local and Regional Markets led by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and University of Minnesota is surveying small-, mid-sized- and emerging farmers on direct sales. Producers are asked to share their experiences operating farms and selling in direct-to-consumer and direct-to-institution markets such as farmers markets, U-Pick, CSAs, and schools. Results will help identify market trends and opportunities, support the development of programs and services such as the MDA's Minnesota Grown program, and strengthen recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature to support historically underrepresented and under-supported farmers....

Vermont's governor has released the report of the Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture, a 12-member citizen committee appointed to explore ways to grow the state's food economy. The Commission’s report provides recommendations to stimulate rural Vermont farm and food production and provide better access to local food. In creating the report, the Commissioners shared their ideas, and tapped the expertise of young farmers, members of the public, and organizations working on environmentally sound farming practices, climate adaptation and resilience, and diversity. Among the report's conclusions: agriculture is a principal engine for Vermont's rural economy and Vermont food and...

The University at Buffalo's Veggie Van team has received $750,000 from USDA to support the expansion of the Veggie Van Training Center and the Mobile Market Coalition, resources that are used by mobile markets across the country. The USDA funding will allow the Veggie Van team to work with mobile market leaders across the country to develop and implement a strategic plan and charter for the Mobile Market Coalition to connect and support mobile market operators, while establishing standards of operation and promoting best practices. In addition, it will support the Mobile Market Summit for the next three years. The...

Related ATTRA resource: Urban and Community Agriculture A team of researchers led by scientists at Lancaster University explored the food production potential of urban green spaces throughout Britain. The research team used Ordnance Survey master maps to identify outdoor urban green spaces and calculated the productive potential of these areas using figures from existing domestic agriculture. The researchers considered all urban green spaces as potentially suitable for agriculture, as a means of defining the outer limits of urban food production. The study found if all urban green spaces were converted to food production, and used efficiently, they would collectively have the capacity...

Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Co-Founder and former long-time CEO, announced the launch of the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, a first-of-its kind partnership, created to solve the crisis of disappearing family farms, reports Vermont Business Magazine. The Partnership, collaboration of farmers, processors, activists, and government agencies, is inviting consumers to sign a pledge at saveorganicfamilyfarms.org to purchase one-fourth of their weekly dairy purchases from 35 brands that have committed to increase their purchases of northeast organic family farmers' milk. In addition, the partnership is inviting dairy retailers to become licensed as partners and commit to carrying partner brands....

The Food Systems Leadership Network is offering a ten-week online training intensive for a cohort of value chain coordination (VCC) practitioners. The training series starting in February will help participants deepen their knowledge of strategies, tools, and best practices that guide impactful VCC work. This training series will focus on how to organize and prioritize VCC activities. This will be a virtual learning cohort of about 28 total participants, composed of individuals and regional groups performing VCC from regions around the United States. Organizers are seeking a diverse cohort in terms of the race, gender, experience level, and role of...

Related ATTRA Publication: Meat Plants: Improving Profitability in Small and Very Small Operations Oregon State University Extension Service Small Farms program has been awarded two grants for projects to strengthen the food system by improving the viability of small and mid-size farms and food businesses. The first is a Regional Food Systems Partnerships Program grant that will support work with eight food hubs in Oregon. The second is a $591,951 grant to the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network for "Meat in the Middle," which will create a stronger mid-tier niche meat supply chain through training, business coaching, and peer support. The project...

Related ATTRA resources: Farm to Institution Iowa's Farm to Table Task Force commissioned during the 2021 state legislative session has submitted a set of recommendations to the Iowa Legislature that are intended to improve the farm to table supply chain. The group of 12 local food experts was charged with identifying strategies to improve the farm to table supply chain in Iowa, with a special focus on increasing sales to institutional purchasers, including schools. The task force's full report is available online and contains recommendations including the following: improving sales of local foods to institutions, including farm to school and early care...

In the summer of 2021, the WSU Food Systems Docuseries crew set out for the Portland and Seattle-metro areas to talk with farmers first-hand about their experiences farming in an urbanizing region. The Peri-Urban Agriculture Network has posted the first episode, "Farming Within the Peri-Urban Context: Re-framing the paradigm of what viable agricultural economies look like in urbanizing regions." The 15-minute film is available online. It's the first of five planned episodes. ...

USDA has announced the establishment of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) that will award up to $400 million for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods. Utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, these purchases will expand local and regional markets and place an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved farmers and ranchers. The awards will be made through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments. Eligible state and tribal governments can apply until April 5, 2022. The cooperative agreements will provide organizations the flexibility to design food purchasing programs and establish partnerships with farmers and...

Related ATTRA Publication: Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide The Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) announced that it received $652,940 of local food system grant funding from USDA, with an additional $163,235 of matching funds committed, to establish the Virginia Certified Farmers Market System. VAFMA says the voluntary branding and support program will help farmers markets emerge from the pandemic with more resilience, capacity, and profitability. The Virginia Certified Farmers Market program will offer markets incentives and support for adopting best practices and adhering to state guidelines. At the core of the program will be VAFMA's extensive online training platform. It will...

USDA announced a $90.2 million investment in 203 projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for local and regional food businesses through the Local Agriculture Marketing Program. Through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs, this funding will help support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism, as well as regional food business intermediary supply chain activities including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally or regionally produced food products. Meanwhile, the Regional Food System Partnerships program will support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop...

Delaware Governor John Carney, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, and the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy announced that the state will use $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to establish the First State Integrated Food System Program. The program is designed to help stabilize and strengthen Delaware's small and mid-sized farmers and local food supply chain operations. According to the governor, "the Council on Farm and Food Policy will work with partners to develop and administer a diverse portfolio of grants and loans to improve the availability and accessibility of local produce, animal protein, value-added products,...

With support from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), the Eat Local First Collaborative has expanded the Washington Food & Farm Finder, an online tool to connect consumers with food that is grown, caught, raised, and made by Washington growers and producers. The expansion added a section for wholesale vendors to the directory in late October, to better assist school districts and other institutions trying to source locally grown produce. Institutional buyers can search listings by city name, Zip code, category, product, distribution method, delivery area, and more. The wholesale tool also includes five diversity and seven sustainability icons...

An international study led by Penn State University found that microgreens could help provide global nutrition security. Microgreens can be grown in a variety of soilless production systems and grown indoors with or without artificial lights, meaning that they can be grown in food deserts or where food supply chains have been disrupted. Sprouting a variety of species including herbs and vegetables produces food in a variety of colors, textures, and flavors, and with a complex nutritional profile. "Nutrient-dense microgreens have great potential as an efficient food-resilience resource," noted study leader Francesco Di Gioia....

At the United Nations Food Systems Summit, USDA highlighted planned investments and several steps it has taken to advance the goals of ending hunger and malnutrition and building more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems. For example, USDA announced the formation of the Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation, a global, multi- sector coalition that will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth that optimizes the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability. USDA also announced that it plans to invest $5 billion from the American Rescue Plan...