The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems engages the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in developing regionally integrated, sustainable food systems. Their website offers resources ranging from briefs and fact sheets to videos and a webinar series on topics such as institutional sourcing of local food, farm-to-school, farmers markets, and social justice in the food system.
food system development
This resource is hosted by the Community, Local and Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) Community of Practice. It is designed to provide information and networking opportunities for educators, community-based practitioners, policy makers, farmers/growers, families, and those individuals involved in building equitable, health-promoting, resilient, and economically balanced food systems. As a community of practice, we: 1) create new content; 2) compile and summarize information published by our member organizations; 3) and make it our goal to offer a unique, online meeting place for diverse groups and interests to share information and learn from one another.
Discover a wealth of educational materials for farmers, ranchers, ag professionals, community organizers and others who are striving to reconfigure the nation’s food system so more value stays in food-producing communities.
The content on this page is available as a topic brief (PDF download from the SARE website), Building Local and Regional Food Systems.
The Food Systems Leadership Network (a Wallace Center National Community of Practice) connects individuals and staff of non-profit, community-based organizations through its online, interactive platform where members can access a variety of opportunities and services to support professional development and organizational capacity.
Connect with colleagues around the country through a network of peer to peer support and professional development.
Hosted by Colorado State University, with temporary funding from USDA/AMS and USDA/NIFA, and in collaboration with eXtension, the localfoodeconomics.com site is designed to provide a one-stop platform for cutting-edge information on local food research findings, benchmark data, and economic impact assessments.
The site was originally created in 2016 to showcase a new economic assessment tool for local food systems entitled The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices. This seven-chapter document, co-authored by more than a dozen leading researchers and consultants on local food systems, was developed to enhance the capacity of community planners and stakeholders to make more accurate and credible measurements of economic activity accruing from local food system investments.
Designed to be usable by individuals at all levels of technical sophistication, the document provides guidance on how to:
- Engage community members in discussions on local food system priorities
- Determine appropriate and meaningful study parameters
- Find relevant secondary data and engage in cost-effective primary data collection
- Understand and produce meaningful economic multiplier and impact data on local food systems with input/output software
Since the site was launched, its scope has expanded beyond Toolkit-related economic impact materials to incorporate numerous aspects of current local/regional food research, including:
- Benchmarks for Local Food Data
- Tools for Farmers Market Data Collection, Analyses and Reporting
- Farm-to-School Research
- Community Supported Agriculture Research
- Rural-Urban Linkages
The Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) program, hosted by the Environmental Protection Service, released a toolkit in 2017 that incorporated findings from three rounds of the technical assistance grants it provides to communities in support of local food enterprises development. The toolkit includes step-by-step instructions for community-led workshops that allow local officials, community groups, businesses and citizens to set priorities and action steps for developing the potential of their local food system. Access the toolkit here.
Communities receiving LFLP support have worked on a diverse range of projects such as:Communities receiving LFLP support have worked on a diverse range of projects such as:
- Opening year-round, downtown markets featuring foods from local farmers.
- Planning cooperative grocery stores to help revitalize small-town main streets.
- Creating centrally located community kitchens or food hubs to aggregate and market local foods.
- Starting business incubators to help entrepreneurs launch food-related businesses on main streets.
- Making it easier for people to walk or bicycle to farmers markets and local restaurants.
- Helping schoolchildren to grow their own food, and making healthy local food accessible to families, including via SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.
- Developing community gardens in walkable, transit-accessible places.
A selection of Community Action Plans is available at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/food-sector/lflp-cap.
The USDA National Agricultural Library has compiled a listing of local food related reports and resources. These resources may be especially helpful for pre-award research and proposal writing.
MarketSizer and HubSizer are tools for food system planners. It uses data from public and private sources to calculate unmet demand for local food at the state and county level. With a few clicks you can estimate the potential of the market in your area for local meat, dairy, poultry & eggs and fruits & vegetables.