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Community and Regional Food Systems Project: Year One and Beyond!


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This presentation is about the first year of the Community and Regional Food Systems project, which is a USDA-funded research project focused on determining the characteristics and functions of a healthy local/regional food system and how they contribute to increased community food security.

This presentation was originally presented at the 6th Annual Wisconsin Local Food Summit by Lindsey Day Farnsworth and Anne Pfeiffer of UW-Madison.

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Community and Regional Food Systems Project: Year One and Beyond!

  1. 1. andYearBeyond… 1
  2. 2. • What innovations in the community and regional food system have you observed? – Where? – By whom?• To what extent is your work already integrated among several of these fields?• What activities/innovations have the potential to be scaled up (or down)?• Does the framework resonate with your work?• What tools do you need to advance your integrated food system work?Discussion
  3. 3. • Five year project funded by USDA-NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture)• Integrated Project: research, education, and outreach• People: researchers, producers, advocates, educators, lenders, policy-makers, and moreCRFS Project Overview
  4. 4. What are the characteristics and functions of ahealthy CRFS and how do/can they contribute toincreased community food security?Central Research Question
  5. 5. • Understand and test what contributes to the success of CRFS• Develop an assessment toolkit and training programs• Enable other locales around the country to build healthy food systems.Vision
  6. 6. Outreach Research • Growing Power • Characterize complexEducation – workshops and urban food systems trainings • Refine, validate,• PEOPLE program implement the • University Extension framework• College internships – Peer network • Evaluate in and with• Graduate practicums – Train-the-trainer communities curriculum – Enhance communications – Project evaluation – Identify innovations and community – Identify opportunities assessment for expansion and – Appropriate, accessib improvement le resourcesIntegrated Components
  7. 7. • Dynamic, useful framework – Enhance understanding between researchers, communities, advocates – Identify community-based innovations and promote successful strategies – Create tools for community self-assessment – Understand the intricacies and dynamics of CRFS and how they affect food security• Youth who are knowledgeable and inspired by CRFS• Trained participants in CRFS – Inclusive and targeted training: growers, processors, distributors, marketers, lenders, advocates, etc. – Tools and methods for community self-assessment – Disseminating successful strategies and innovationsAnticipated Outcomes of CRFS project
  8. 8. Characteristics Available Affordable Accessible Appropriate Sustainable and relate to… to influence Food Supply Law and Social Nutrition Economics Production Chains Policy Relations & Health to understand land food processing markets and capital and community & diet and food suitability & quality control marketing labor cultural relations behaviorland tenure agricultural transportation business models legal & political food & nutrition exercise and& economics systems & logistics & management environment education health care Tools, metrics, models Food Security Framework
  10. 10. • Backyard gardens and orchards• Community gardens• Non-profit and community organizations• Commercial production – Urban – Peri-urbanRange of Production Scales
  11. 11. • Land availability and affordability• Long-term stability• Land use transitions – Hunger Task Force – Troy GardensLand Tenure
  12. 12. • Soil Quality – soil compaction – soil contamination – e.g., lead, PAHs – Compost production-variable quality• Environment – water, solar access – Infrastructure development• Location – Proximity to markets – Public transportation and communityLand Suitability
  13. 13. • Vertical farms • Use of non-traditional spaces • Seek high production rate/area • Small space makes crop rotation and disease and pest management challenging.Innovations on Limited Land
  14. 14. Hybridization in business models and supplychain configuration reflect:• Scalar variation• Desire to balance social, environmental & profit goalsThe fair pricing dilemma:Business models that maximize farmer profits Growing Power vision statement:often make products too expensive for low- “Inspiring communities to build sustainableincome consumers food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time”Supply chain & economics
  15. 15. Need for aggregation & distributionsystems for small and midsize producers• Food hubs and incubators• Scale-appropriate transportation & logistics – Traceability – Temperature-controlled storage – Efficient route-planning Graphic courtesy of Local Dirt: localdirt.comInfrastructure
  16. 16. Need for infrastructure and distributionsystems that accommodate small-midsizebuyers:• Challenges for corner store initiatives – Purchase volume & price points – SNAP & WIC implementation – Cooler storage & display – Marketing & merchandising – Façade improvementsInfrastructure
  17. 17. Innovations in infrastructure and businessSUPPLY-SIDEOrganization Location Business Physical infrastructure Activities modelSweet Water Milwaukee, IL Non-profit & Former crane factory Produces and sells fish &Organics & Sweet for-profit vegetables, providesWater partners interdisciplinaryFoundation sustainability programmingThe Plant Chicago, IL LLC business Former meat-processing Brewery, food/ag business incubator plant incubator, research and educational space5th Season Co-op Viroqua, WI cooperative Former manufacturing Produce aggregation, plant processing, storage and distribution food & value- added food productsDEMAND-SIDEOrganization / Location Business Physical infrastructure ActivitiesProject modelFondy Food Milwaukee, WI Non-profit Formerly city owned & Farmers’ market, cooking-Center operated farmers’ based nutrition education, market structure, leases a farm for low-income leased private farmland growersAround the Milwaukee, WI Private, non- Independently-owned Façade & cold chainCorner to Better profit, & corner stores infrastructureHealth public sector improvements, marketing partners and supply chain development
  18. 18. Social & cultural relations• Food security in urban U.S. is largely an issue of race and class• Dismantling racism trainings, Growing Food & Justice InitiativeSome factors affecting consumption of whole foods• Accessibility, availability, appeal of healthy food• Food culture• Culinary knowledge• Time/convenienceSocial relations, Health & nutrition
  19. 19. • Production subsidies and standards, regulation of food processing and transport, and publicly funded food assistance• Federal level: – Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act – Farm Bill• Many innovations in CRFS are Goats at Growing Power, Milwaukee, WI occurring at the local levelLaw and policy
  20. 20. Innovations in the legal & political environmentPOLICY Land use Economic Licensing & Programs & controls development regulation servicesCOMPONENT incentivesProduction Urban Local food Permit on-site Vegetable Agriculture procurement produce sales at gardening classes ordinances policies market gardens & resourcesProcessing Industrial Agricultural Promote laws Provide cooking & retention via processing permitting limited food preservation zoning & renaissance zones sales of home- classes comprehensive processed foods planningDistribution Flexible zoning USDA “geographic Grocery store Establish farmers’ for grocery stores preference” option attraction incentives markets on city- in under-served increases local food owned land areas in schoolsConsumption Long-term leases CDBG funding to Streamline licensing EBT machines for for community increase produce at requirements for WIC/SNAP at gardens corners stores farm markets & farmers’ markets produce cartsResources & Align Mandatory Separate ag and MunicipalWaste state/municipal recycling and solid waste regs/ household composting land composting permitting compostingManagement use regulations requirements program
  21. 21. • Management – Workforce – Inputs – Balancing social, environmental, financial goals• Technical Assistance – Access to information – Skills and background• Policy and Zoning – Limitations on infrastructure and production – Lack of coordination across scales and types of regulatory bodies• Need for Evaluation – What types of CRFS initiatives and policies have proven successful? By whose standards? – What are appropriate measures of different CRFS goals?Overarching Issues
  22. 22. • Responsive Community Engagement Projects – Community driven – 3 month-1 year commitment• Framework-based research – Community and stakeholder interviews – Field trials• Training and education – Webinars – Workshops – Resource materialsNext steps
  23. 23. YOUR THOUGHTS?
  24. 24. • What innovations in the community and regional food system have you observed? – Where? – By whom?• To what extent is your work already integrated among several of these fields?• What activities/innovations have the potential to be scaled up (or down)?• Does the framework resonate with your work?• What tools do you need to advance your integrated food system work?Discussion
  25. 25. Lindsey Day Anne Pfeiffer