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Sustainable, Regional Food Systems

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We were delighted to have Mike Hamm visiting Cardiff University in March.

Mike was with us to talk about his work on sustainable, regional food systems at Michigan State University and the Centre for Regional Food Systems at MSU.

A bit more about Mike:

Michael Hamm is the C. S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University and head of the Centre for Regional Food Systems at MSU.

Mike is affiliated with the Departments of Community Sustainability; Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences; and Food Science and Human Nutrition. His appointment encompasses teaching, research and outreach. Community food security, community and sustainable food systems are research interest areas.



The mission of the MSU Centre for Regional Food Systems is to engage the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in applied research, education and outreach to develop regionally integrated, sustainable food systems.

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Sustainable, Regional Food Systems

  1. 1. CITY REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD Michael W. Hamm C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture Director, Center for Regional Food Systems Michigan State University Visiting Fellow- University of Oxford
  2. 2. THE FOOD SYSTEM Growing & Producing Processing PreparingEating Retailing Distributing Food System
  3. 3. START WITH A PREMISE CHANGE HAPPENS AND A COROLLARY WE CAN’T PREDICT EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE or WE GET BETTER AND BETTER AT PREDICTING THE PAST MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  4. 4. WHAT IS A REGIONALIZED FOOD SYSTEM? My working definition: “A food system that optimizes the production, consumption and supply chain infrastructure of food within a defined region while integrating with larger regions as well as the national and global supply of food in a manner that provides a healthy sustainably- produced diet to all a region’s inhabitants.”
  5. 5. WHAT IS A ‘REGION’? Geographically ambiguous – can be political, economic, ecological and/or cultural boundaries – technically something less than a continent – typically organize around city regions Map from: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.great-lakes.net/lakes/basinMap2.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.great-lakes.net/lakes/ &h=298&w=400&sz=14&tbnid=B2fZohpigcBEZM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=121&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmap%2Bof%2Bgreat%2Blakes%2Bregion%26tbm%3Disch %26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=map+of+great+lakes+region&docid=obddxoXllC_suM&sa=X&ei=GFlAT9O9JaOkiQLChbnDAQ&ved=0CDYQ9QEwAA&dur=6339
  6. 6. A DYNAMIC BLEND OF REGIONAL DIRECT AND INDIRECT; NATIONAL; GLOBAL d Regionalized Food Systems – A Rebalancing in the Developed World -
  7. 7. RESILIENCE “The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, and feedbacks- to have the same identity… the ability to cope with shocks and keep functioning in much the same kind of way.” B. Walker & D. Salt (2012) “Resilience Practice: Building Capacity to Absorb Disturbance and Maintain Function” Rist, L., Felton, A., Nyström, M., Troell, M., Sponseller, R. A., Bengtsson, J., . . . Moen, J. (2014). Applying resilience thinking to production ecosystems. Ecosphere, 5(6), art73-art73.
  8. 8. Diversity of Scale Diversity of ‘Systems’ Diversity of Production Points Diversity of Production Strategy Diversity of Background Minimize External Inputs Enhance Natural Resource Base Minimize Externality Development A RESILIENT FOOD SYSTEM
  9. 9. A CHALLENGE •  In the developed world largely to re-develop production, supply chains, policy, and cultural norms to enable their development. •  In much of the developing world – to insure that existing regionalized food systems are not destroyed in the march to supermarket modernization •  In some parts of the world – ‘modernization’ has moved along recently – can we not lose the region
  10. 10. THEREFORE … I would argue that we need to redesign and evolve (although quickly – not with long dormant periods between episodic events) systems that can maintain flexibility while maximizing the recycling of nutrients and carbon in our human managed food system. MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  11. 11. WHAT NEEDS TO BE PRESENT IN A REGION TO DEVELOP? •  Land •  Human capital •  Technical expertise and research •  Infrastructure – including markets •  Financial capital •  Policy climate to facilitate (with a touch of preferencing perhaps) MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  12. 12. NATIONAL MEGAREGIONS – POTENTIAL WILL VARY ACROSS THESE From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Lakes_Megalopolis
  13. 13. WHY IMPORTANT TO DO – PROPOSITIONS •  Increase the ability to respond to extreme events (parallel of tsunami in Japan) – multiple sources and supply chains •  Improve the potential for food security and livelihood development •  Improve the ability to create relatively closed loops of N,P,K •  Maintain a better global balance of water and carbon MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  14. 14. WHAT TO DO IN THE CONTEXT OF A REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM? First, create a context for movement so that people and entities from a variety of backgrounds and interest can see a value in participating Second, create the framework for an infrastructure to support this Third, create a climate of professions emerging within this sphere Fourth, create a groundswell of support Fifth, insure robust analysis to continuous improvement MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  15. 15. FRAMING A STATEWIDE STRATEGY.... www.michiganfood.org
  16. 16. MICHIGAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY We have a diverse and resilient food system that protects our cultural, ecological and economic assets. All people have access to good, Michigan- grown food, and all our young people can thrive. Our farms and food businesses sustain farmers, owners and workers and contribute to vibrant Michigan communities. Thriving Economy EquitySustainability
  17. 17. WHAT TO DO IN THE CONTEXT OF A REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM? First, create a context for movement so that people and entities from a variety of backgrounds and interest can see a value in participating Second, create the framework for an infrastructure to support this Third, create a climate of professions emerging within this sphere Fourth, create a groundswell of support Fifth, insure robust analysis to continuous improvement MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  18. 18. MICHIGAN FOOD SYSTEMS PARTNERSHIP ECOSYSTEM Achieving health, economic, and equity goals. Supporting the Michigan Good Food Charter.
  19. 19. WHAT TO DO IN THE CONTEXT OF A REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM? First, create a context for movement so that people and entities from a variety of backgrounds and interest can see a value in participating Second, create the framework for an infrastructure to support this Third, create a climate of professions emerging within this sphere Fourth, create a groundswell of support Fifth, insure robust analysis to continuous improvement MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  20. 20. CATALYZE INSTITUTIONAL PURCHASES AS BASE OF FARM MARKET SUPPORT – E.G. FARM TO INSTITUTION IN MICHIGAN 54% of Michigan school food service directors purchased local foods through various channels. 117 of Michigan’s 143 acute care hospitals have committed to locally source 20% of their food by 2020. Of Michigan vegetable farmers who hadn’t already sold to institutions, 50% were interested in selling to at least one institution type.
  21. 21. FOOD HUB DEVELOPMENT AND ANALYSIS “Food hubs are, or intend to be, financially viable entities that demonstrate a significant commitment to place through aggregation and marketing of regional food” (Fischer, Pirog and Hamm (2015) JHEN)
  22. 22. Fischer, M., Hamm, M., Pirog, R., Fisk, J., Farbman, J., & Kiraly, S. (September 2013). Findings of the 2013 National Food Hub Survey. Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems & The Wallace Center at Winrock International. Retrieved from http://foodsystems.msu.edu/activities/food-hub-survey We found that, by self-reported data, food hubs tended to be financially viable with gross revenues at about $600,000 per year
  23. 23. WHAT TO DO IN THE CONTEXT OF A REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM? First, create a context for movement so that people and entities from a variety of backgrounds and interest can see a value in participating Second, create the framework for an infrastructure to support this Third, create a climate of professions emerging within this sphere Fourth, create a groundswell of support Fifth, insure robust analysis to continuous improvement MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  24. 24. GROWTH OF SNAP ACCEPTANCE IN MICHIGAN 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Number Accepting SNAP 3 11 24 30 52 82 103 Total Number 150 180 200 217 220 280 300 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Number of Farmers Markets Accepting Bridge Cards Compared to the Total Number of Farmers Markets in Michigan from 2006 to 2012 Opportunity to Increase Access Slide from Dr. Dru Montri, Director, MIFMA
  25. 25. www.michigan.gov/midashboard; Source United States Department of Agriculture Slide from Dr. Dru Montri, Director, MIFMA
  26. 26. A program of the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems coordinated in partnership with MIFMA and the MSU Student Organic Farm. Funding is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Made successful by a partnership with the Michigan Head Start Association & Local Head Start Agencies. Hoophouses for Health Program FIND AT: http://mifma.org/hoophouses-for-health/ Slide from Dr. Dru Montri, Director, MIFMA
  27. 27. OPPORTUNITY: JOBS & PUBLIC HEALTH •  Shift from current consumption to public health recommendations •  Eating more of what people currently eat •  Get it from MI when available fresh with typical technology •  Need approximately 37,000 more acres of production WHAT  IF…  Michigan’s  residents  bridged  the  “Public   Health  Gap”?   $211 Million increased net income; 1,800 off-farm jobs From:  Conner,  D.S.,  Knudson,  W.,  Peterson,  H.C.,  Hamm,  M.W.  Journal  of  Hunger  &  Environmental  Nutri4on,  2008.  
  28. 28. FOODLAB  is  a  community  of  food   entrepreneurs  committed  to  making   the  possibility  of  GOOD FOOD  in   Detroit  a  SUSTAINABLE reality.  We   design,  build  and  maintain  systems   to  grow  a  diverse  ecosystem  of   TRIPLE-BOTTOM-LINE BUSINESSES as   part  of  a  good  food  MOVEMENT  that   is  ACCOUNTABLE  to  all  Detroiters.  
  29. 29. But this isn’t just touchy-feely. It’s a sustainable way to build a local food economy that serves everyone. It’s about starting with our members and having them work together with a common purpose. - Devita & Jess
  30. 30. WHAT TO DO IN THE CONTEXT OF A REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEM? First, create a context for movement so that people and entities from a variety of backgrounds and interest can see a value in participating Second, create the framework for an infrastructure to support this Third, create a climate of professions emerging within this sphere Fourth, create a groundswell of support Fifth, insure robust analysis to continuous improvement MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  31. 31. COLLECTIVE IMPACT & GOOD FOOD CHARTER SHARED MEASUREMENT PROJECT OVERVIEW u  Collaborative project to build the case for collectively measuring statewide food systems change in Michigan u  Measure success and progress toward achieving Good Food Charter Goals Overall willingness to share results (mostly aggregate data) Capacity to collect data varies greatly (resources, expertise, etc.)
  32. 32. PRIME ISSUES IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD (AT LEAST IN THE U.S.) TO DEVELOP •  Who will farm? Where will they farm? •  Who will develop the businesses needed to create new supply chains from the farm gate to the consumer? •  To what extent can consumers be moved towards a path of greater consciousness? MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  33. 33. PRIME ISSUE IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD (AT LEAST IN THE U.S.) TO DEVELOP •  Who will farm? Where will they farm? E.g. of Michigan •  Who will develop the businesses needed to create new supply chains from the farm gate to the consumer? •  To what extent can consumers be moved towards a path of greater market awareness? MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  34. 34. S. Miller & S. Cocciarelli (2012) The Michigan Farm Succession Study: Findings and Implications http://foodsystems.msu.edu/resources/farm-succession 470,000 acres expected to change hands in next ten years through retirements
  35. 35. WHO WILL FARM IN THE FUTURE? (MICHIGAN EXAMPLE) Grew up on a farm in the U.S. Springport FFA Immigrants MIFFS FOTM New Generation Farmers 2nd career 1st career OFCP, WIA Recent grant from USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
  36. 36. Training •  Organic Farm Training Program at MSU •  WIA •  FOTM Busines s Dev. •  MSU Product Center Land •  DNR •  MSU Capital •  IDAs •  Crowd Sourcing •  Small Loan Program Markets •  MIFMA Info. •  MSUE •  MSU SOF •  MIFFS ENGAGING BEGINNING AND EARLY ENTRY FARMERS
  37. 37. CHALLENGES OF ALL ‘SMALL’ AND ‘LOCAL’ IN U.S. U.S. 2012 U.S. 2020 U.S. 2050 2 acre farms 23 million 28 million 20 acre farms 2.3 million 2.8 million Current <=194,000 Back of the Envelope Calculations – M.W. Hamm (2015); Current from 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture FACTOIDS Average U.S. Household – 2.6 Takes about 6,040 Sq. Ft. to produce fruits and vegetables for 1 Therefore – 14.4 people fed produce on one acre
  38. 38. THE FOOD SYSTEM STARTS WITH PRODUCTION •  We can produce many things, but some things we can’t •  E.g. hard red winter wheat (we grow soft red) •  E.g. beer barley – about 1 in 3-4 years we can grow a good crop •  E.g bananas •  And we are seasonally challenged •  Can we move indoors? MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  39. 39. From: Union of Concerned Scientists (see: E.G. MIDWEST OVER THE CENTURY
  40. 40. SEASONAL CHALLENGE FOR MI MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  41. 41. MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
  42. 42. SYSTEM LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 Carbon Emissions from Distant vs. Hoophouse Leaf Lettuce Production Ratio = 5.3 MI CA R. Plawecki, R. Pirog, A. Montri, and M. W. Hamm (2013) Comparative carbon footprint assessment of winter lettuce production in two climatic zones for Midwestern market. RAFS.
  43. 43. FOOD SYSTEM SUSTAINABILITY & RESILIENCY IN A CHANGING WORLD ü Optimize local/regional but be connected to national/global supply chains ü Multiple networks both connected and independent ü Conscious building of diversity across multiple dimensions ü Partnerships that build social capital and trust are critical ü Special reference to those with least resources in the community- build equity and inclusion ü Must take demographic profile into account – are there sufficient people to farm for e.g. or is there technology (equipment) to make them efficient ü Maximize recycling of nutrients and minimize Carbon/H2O footprint ü Appropriate technology development
  44. 44. mhamm@msu.edu michael.hamm@mansfield.ox.ac.uk The End

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