Tag Archives: local foods

Economic Impacts of Local Food Systems Webinar

The North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN) is pleased to announce another webinar in the Good Food Talk Series:

Topic: Economic Impacts of Local Food Systems: Measuring Outcomes

Date: Thursday, May  25, 2017

Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Time (10:00 am Pacific Time)

Webinar Presenters

    • Rich Pirog — Director, Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University
    • Dawn Thilmany — Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, Regional Economic Development Institute, Colorado State University
    • Ariel Kagan — Senior Program Associate, Sustainability Collaborative, Food Institute, George Washington University
    • Kathleen Liang –– Director, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University
    • Becca Jablonski — Assistant Professor and Extension Economist in Food Systems at Colorado State University


    • Jeffrey K. O’Hara — Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Local Food Research & Development, USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service


Register Here:


In recent years, a considerable effort has been made at improving data collection for local food systems, engaging and developing resources for practitioners to evaluate local food system activity, and to standardize the metrics used in reporting the impacts of local food grant and loan programs.  The presenters will provide an overview of some of these initiatives.  The objective of the webinar is to engage local food funders, researchers, and practitioner in a conversation about the effectiveness of these initiatives; if and how they have impacted local food system activity; whether there are merits to formation of a “community of practice” that would educate, share, review, and critique local food system studies and data collection processes; and if so, to discuss how such a community of practice could be structured.  A number of questions have arisen:

  • How effective are communities, local food practitioners, and researchers at evaluating local food system activity?  What are the strengths and weaknesses?
  • Has the capacity to evaluate local food market activity improved in the previous five years?
  • How strong and mutually reinforcing are the partnerships between community practitioners, researchers, and food system funders (like government agencies) at collectively and satisfactorily evaluating local food projects?
  • Are there opportunities to advance such a community of practice?  How would it look?  What are effective strategies for doing so?

Additional Information

This webinar will bring some high level insights from the Local Foods Impact Conference April 3-4, 2017.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), in partnership with George Washington University, hosted this conference that was designed to explore how to best measure the impacts of local food investments, improve coordination across USDA agencies, and evaluate the extent to which disparate local food investments are complementary and reinforcing. Over 300 people attended with  and another 500 tuning in via livestream for the plenary sessions. FYI, here are videos of the mainstage presentations, photos and slide presentations

As background, the discussion for this webinar  grew from a 2013 meeting to address the state of economic analysis of local and regional food systems convened by Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program (http://foodsystems.msu.edu/resources/econ-analysis-webinar). Subsequently, in 2014, the USDA AMS convened a team of regional economists and food system specialists to develop a best practice Toolkit for evaluating the economic impacts of local food system activities. This NAFSN Webinar will provide an update on the thinking since that conference and the experience with the Local Food Systems Toolkit. 


Local and Regional Food Webinar – October 7th, 2016

Local and Regional Food Webinar – October 7th, 2016

Local & Regional Foods:  Connecting Regional Efforts

The South has seen significant activity around local and regional foods systems in the recent months.  As a result, a team of Extension and research professionals have come together to create a process for connecting these efforts and growing the work across states and disciplines.  Come see what is planned and learn how you can be involved in the initiative.


October 7, 2016 – 10:30 am  Central / 11:30 am Eastern


Join us here: https://msues.adobeconnect.com/_a828402417/srdc /


For more information or to view past CRD Webinars, please visit our website: http://srdc.msstate.edu/trainings/crdwebinars.html


School Districts Registered in Mississippi MarketMaker

School Districts Registered in Mississippi MarketMaker

Great information from my friend and colleague, Ben Posadas!

School Districts Registered in Mississippi MarketMaker  


To find local school districts registered in Mississippi MarketMaker: (1) Do a Business Search in http://ms.foodmarketmaker.com, (2) Type “school district”, (3) SelectBuyer under Filters, then Search By distance. Remember to specify your current location. There are seven school districts registered in Mississippi MarketMaker, as shown in the MarketMaker map below. Please encourage your local school district nutritionists to register their schools at Mississippi MarketMaker and network with local food growers. 


Vegetable, Fruits and Nut Growers Registered in Mississippi MarketMaker 


To find local vegetable, fruit and nut growers registered in Mississippi MarketMaker: (1) Do a Business Search in http://ms.foodmarketmaker.com, (2) Type “vegetables, fruits, nuts”, (3) Select Farmer/Rancher under Filters, then Search By distance. Remember to specify your current location. There are 198 vegetable, fruit and nut growers registered in Mississippi MarketMaker. The eight growers nearest to Oxford School District are shown in the MarketMaker map below. Please encourage your local food growers to network with local school districts.


Regional Farm to School Workshop


Attend this informative workshop and get connected to schools and growers in your area on July 28, 2015 from 9-noon at the Forrest County Extension Office. Read more about it at https://veggiedr.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/save-the-date-farm-to-school-workshop/.


MarketMaker Training Workshops for Producers, Extension, Regulators and School Teachers 


Available upon request by a group of 6-12 producers, extension agents, state regulatory agencies staff and school teachers. More details athttp://www.coastal.msstate.edu/MMInserviceTraining.html.


Where can you find the National Food MarketMaker?


MarketMaker can be viewed at http://ms.foodmarketmaker.com/.
Ask Siri or Cortana to search for “Mississippi MarketMaker” on your smart phone.


Benedict Posadas. Mississippi MarketMaker Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 11, July 7, 2015. Mississippi State University Extension Service, Coastal Research and Extension Center. Website: http://msucares.com/newsletters/marketmaker/index.html

Most Americans Could Eat Locally, Research Shows

Most Americans Could Eat Locally, Research Shows

Farmland mapping project indicates more than 90 percent of U.S. could eat food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes, helping economy and making agriculture more sustainable.feedable-cities

June 1, 2015
Quick Facts:
A project by UC Merced Professor Elliott Campbell mapped the potential of every American city to obtain food locally.
Research shows unexpectedly large current potential for productive farmland.
Plant- or animal-based diets can change the percentage of people who can eat locally.

Professor Elliott Campbell

Professor Elliott Campbell

MERCED, Calif. — New farmland-mapping research published today shows that up to 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes.Professor Elliott Campbell , with the University of California, Merced, School of Engineering, discusses the possibilities in a study entitled “The Large Potential of Local Croplands to Meet Food Demand in the United States Opens a New Window..” The research results are the cover story of the newest edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the flagship journal for the Ecological Society of America, which boasts a membership of 10,000 scientists.

Elliott Campbell’s research is making an important contribution to the national conversation on local food systems,” influential author and UC Berkeley Professor Michael Pollan said. “That conversation has been hobbled by too much wishful thinking and not enough hard data — exactly what Campbell is bringing to the table.”

The popularity of “farm to table” has skyrocketed in the past few years as people become more interested in supporting local farmers and getting fresher food from sources they know and trust. Even large chain restaurants are making efforts to source supplies locally, knowing more customers care where their food comes from.

Farmers markets are popping up in new places, food hubs are ensuring regional distribution, and the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill supports local production — for good reason, too,” Campbell said. “There are profound social and environmental benefits to eating locally.”

Local food potential has declined over time, which Campbell said was an expected finding, given limited land resources and growing populations and suburbanization.

The surprise, though, was how much potential still remains.

Campbell's map shows the percentages of people who could eat locally in all areas of the country.

Campbell’s map shows the percentages of people who could eat locally in all areas of the country.

Most areas of the country could feed between 80 percent and 100 percent of their populations with food grown or raised within 50 miles. Campbell used data from a farmland-mapping project funded by the National Science Foundation and information about land productivity from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.With additional support from the University of California Global Food Initiative, he found there is enough land to assure that eating locally doesn’t have to be a passing fad.

These results are very timely with respect to increasing interests by the public in community-supported agriculture, as well as improving efficiencies in the food-energy-water nexus,” said Bruce Hamilton, program director for NSF, which supports a spectrum of emerging technologies Opens a New Window.that might help alleviate growing agricultural demands.

Campbell and his students looked at the farms within a local radius of every American city, then estimated how many calories those farms could produce. By comparing the potential calorie production to the population of each city, the researchers found the percentage of the population that could be supported entirely by food grown locally.

The researchers found surprising potential in major coastal cities. For example, New York City could feed only 5 percent of its population within 50 miles but as much as 30 percent within 100 miles. The greater Los Angeles area could feed as much as 50 percent within 100 miles.

Diet can also make a difference. For example, local food around San Diego can support 35 percent of the people based on the average U.S. diet, but as much as 51 percent of the population if people switched to plant-based diets.

Campbell’s maps suggest careful planning and policies are needed to protect farmland from suburbanization and encourage local farming for the future.

Click on the image for a larger version.Opens a New Window.

Click on the image for a larger version.

“One important aspect of food sustainability is recycling nutrients, water and energy. For example, if we used compost from cities to fertilize our farms, we would be less reliant on fossil-fuel-based fertilizers,” Campbell said. “But cities must be close to farms so we can ship compost economically and environmentally. Our maps provide the foundation for discovering how recycling could work.”

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