Regional Food Systems

Armed to Urban Farm DC

A food system describes the people, infrastructure, processes, and legal environments that come together to feed people. This includes growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, marketing, distribution, waste disposal, and ultimately, consumption.  

A region is a medium-sized area of land that is smaller than an area such as North America or the United States, but larger than one specific location, such as Houston, Texas. A specific region can be thought of as having three components: physical elements and built infrastructure, a natural environment, and socio-cultural contexts. We all live in multiple regions at the same time.    

The concept of a regional food system combines these two ideas into a dynamic that can be described, observed, evaluated, and acted upon with some common goals in mind: improving access to safe, fresh, and healthy food for all its inhabitants; improving the health and well-being of its inhabitants; and strengthening the economic prosperity of its communities, both rural and urban. As we observe and evaluate a regional food system through a regenerative lens, we can also add to this list of goals those of improving the soils, water (quality and quantity), and resiliency of a region’s working landscape in the face of climate change. Learn more in the practical ATTRA resources below. 

Related Topics

Staff Expert

Robert Maggiani

Robert Maggiani

Squash in the field many hands farm
Riverpark Farm at Alexandria Center in New York City.
Nina Prater talks on a pasture walk about soil
people conversing around a truck with boxes of produce
workers packing bell peppers at a packing plant
a chef standing next to a freezer door
Intervale Food Hub