Food Systems and Agricultural Policy Resources

Consumer Resources

Be Local Northern Colorado
Be Local is a non-profit whose mission is to cultivate a thriving local economy of independent and unique local businesses and farms. They host the Winter Farmers' Market in Fort Collins, as well as many other communal and education events geared towards supporting the local economy.

Colorado Agritourism
Resources for consumers and tourists who want to find farm- and ranch-based recreational and educational activities in Colorado.

Colorado MarketMaker
A Web-based, interactive mapping system that assists in locating businesses and marketplaces for agricultural products in Colorado, providing an important link between producers and consumers.

Colorado Proud Newsletters
A free marketing program of the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) that labels and promotes Colorado-produced agricultural goods. CDA produces monthly newsletters that provide information on locally produced goods and events.

Denver Seeds Initiative
An effort initiated by Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock to promote economic growth, given the increasing demand for locally grown food, and to take existing open space and find ways to leverage its ability to engage communities in growing home grown, healthy food. Watch a video on the Denver Seeds Initiative.

Farm to Table Food Safety
CSU web site with information on Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices, food safety, and food preservation.

Feed Denver: Urban Farms and Markets
Working with individuals, businesses, city leaders and communities to create pilot farms that are given training through a regional training center to promote food security and education. They provide resource sharing, project mentoring, and fiscal management for 5 years, at which time the project will become an independent entity.

Food Day
Food Day, started in 2011, is an annual event that brings together communities each October 24th to celebrate and campaign for real food and to help solve food-related problems in the home, on the farms, and in schools and communities. Solutions seek to bring healthy and affordable food to people that is produced with care for the environment, animals, and the women and men who grow, harvest, and serve it.

Food Safety on your Smartphone
This application for Smartphones can instantly provide consumers with important information on safe handling, cooking, and storing of food.

Gunnison County Local Ag Products Guide
Gunnison County Extension's web site with information on buying and selling meat, eggs, and dairy products locally. It also supports a list of producers in Gunnison County that sell vegetables, beef, poultry, eggs, dairy products, pork, lamb, goat, honey, hay, and compost locally.

LiveWell Colorado
LiveWell Colorado is a non-profit organization aimed at reducing obesity in Colorado by providing education and inspiration for making healthy food choices and by focusing on policy, environment, and lifestyle choices that remove barriers that keep people from making healthy lifestyle choices and increasing Colorado's residents access to fresh food and physical activity.

LocalHarvest
Web site with information on local agriculture, community-supported agriculture enterprises (CSAs) and local events, searchable by zip code and/or city.

Mesa Verde Guide to Local Sustainable Food and Fiber
Web-based, interactive tool for producers, buyers and consumers to source local food in Southwest Colorado. Features include a listing of buyers (restaurant and retail) and the local foods they use; a list (one can search by category) of over 60 local farmers, ranchers and processors and the products they sell; a combined product availability list feature that allows producers to input the products at the prices they set in a real-time format and for buyers to view a current price list of local food at the touch of a button.

Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado
A Colorado non-profit based out of Durango and working primarily in La Plata County to foster communication, collaboration, and solutions to help create a sustainable and healthy community that preserves and restores the natural environment and promotes economic growth and vitality.

Top 10 Food Trends for 2011
The top 10 food trends of 2011 are highlighted in this article by the Institute of Food Technologists.

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Producer Resources

Agritourism in Colorado
Materials produced by Colorado State University Extension, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and other partners which provide guidance for producers interested in developing or expanding recreational, educational, and leisure activities that are on-farm/ranch, food-based, and/or heritage activities for consumers.

Be Local Northern Colorado
Be Local is a non-profit whose mission is to cultivate a thriving local economy of independent and unique local businesses and farms. They host the Winter Farmers' Market in Fort Collins, as well as many other communal and education events geared towards supporting the local economy.

Boulder County Building Farmers Program-Market Farm Track
Information on 2010 Building Farmers program, led by CSU Extension personnel in cooperation with key producers in several regions, for new and transitioning agricultural producers.

Certification and Labeling Considerations for Agricultural Producers (2005)
Discusses branding, certification, consumer values for various food attributes, and the types of certification available.

Colorado Agritourism
Resources for producers who are interested in starting or expanding a farm- and ranch-based recreational and educational activities. Provides technical assistance resources, resource leads and applied research on agritourists.

Colorado Cottage Food Information
Contains resources for cottage food producers on Colorado's 2012 Cottage Food Act, food handler training requirements, a webinar on cottage food production, and more.

Colorado Farm to Market
A website intended for farmers' market vendors, farmers' market managers, agricultural producers, food product manufacturers and others targeting direct markets. The resources provided help clarify federal, state and local regulations and offer safe handling recommendations from field to market.

Colorado MarketMaker
CMM is a web-based interactive mapping system that producers can use to locate markets for agricultural products in Colorado and also assists consumers in locating businesses and marketplaces for agricultural products, providing an important link between producers and consumers. Follow this link to be on the website in the “Business Spotlight“ section.

Colorado Proud
A free branding, marketing and networking program designed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to help consumers, restaurants and retailers identify and purchase Colorado food and agricultural products.

Colorado Proud Newsletters
A free marketing program of the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) that labels and promotes Colorado-produced agricultural goods. CDA produces monthly newsletters that provide information on locally produced goods and events.

Denver Seeds Initiative (2011)
An effort initiated by Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock to promote economic growth with the growing demand for locally grown food and to take existing open space and find ways to leverage its ability to engage communities in growing home grown, healthy food.

Farm Foundation: A Catalyst for Sound Public Policy
Farm Foundation, NFP, is a public charity that provides objective economic and public policy issues in order to help foster a better understanding of the issues concerning the future of agriculture, food systems, and rural regions. They also operate a small grant program to support public policy development.

Farm to Table Food Safety
CSU web site with information on Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices, food safety, and food preservation.

Farmer's Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
USDA's FMPP grants are directed to help improve and expand domestic farmers' markets, roadside farmstands, and community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. A wide variety of institutions are eligible to apply.

Feed Denver: Urban Farms and Markets
Working with individuals, businesses, city leaders and communities to create pilot farms that are given training through a regional training center to promote food security and education. They provide resource sharing, project mentoring, and fiscal management for 5 years, at which time the project will become an independent entity.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN: Food Price Index
This price index measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities for a wide variety of crops grown globally.

Food Handling Safety: Voluntary Fruit and Vegetable Audit Programs
A voluntary grading, certification, and verification audit program provided to produce suppliers throughout the production and supply chain by the USDA that focuses on the safest agricultural practices in producing, handling, packing, and storing that minimizes the risks of microbial food safety hazards.

Gunnison County Local Ag Products Guide
Gunnison County Extension's web site with information on buying and selling meat, eggs, and dairy products locally. It also supports a list of producers in Gunnison County that sell vegetables, beef, poultry, eggs, dairy products, pork, lamb, goat, honey, hay, and compost locally.

Increasing the Availability of Local Foods: Distribution (2011)
A report by Ohio State University Extension discusses access to local foods. It postulates that since 90% of food grown is sourced from large retail venues, the distribution of local food should be directly distributed and sold in these larger retail markets instead of producers focusing mainly on selling directly to consumers.

Labeling for Sustainable Production (2000)
Overview of U.S. food labeling laws and regulations; economics of food labeling; comparison of the labeling issues for genetically engineered foods and organic foods.

Market Price Reports: Fresh Produce, Meat and Cut Flowers
CSU Extension price reports from local markets starting in 2011. This information is intended to help producers understand how price points differ by market, see what products are available in other markets, and plan for future production by better estimating potential revenue.

Mesa Verde Guide to Local Sustainable Food and Fiber
Web-based, interactive tool for producers, buyers and consumers to source local food in Southwest Colorado. Features include a listing of buyers (restaurant and retail) and the local foods they use; a list (one can search by category) of over 60 local farmers, ranchers and processors and the products they sell; a combined product availability list feature that allows producers to input the products at the prices they set in a real-time format and for buyers to view a current price list of local food at the touch of a button.

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
NMPAN is a national network that assists processors, producers, buyers, regulators, and others involved in the small meat processing sector by coordinating, distributing, and developing information and resources to improve access to processing infrastructure and the long-term stability of this sector.

Northern Colorado Food Incubator
Organization to support, guide and assist food-related businesses and entrepreneurs in Northern Colorado with business planning technical assistance and market access.

Rural Business Opportunity Grants
An annual grant awarded by the USDA to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. Public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, and rural cooperatives are eligible to apply.

SARE Learning Center
This website from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program has information for agricultural educators, farmers, and ranchers, including grant information, books, videos, fact sheets, events, online courses, progress reports, state programs, and much more.

Southwest Colorado Beginning Farmer Resources
Programs and resources targeted to the Southwest region.

Specialty Crops Program at Colorado State University
This program aims to help growers master production systems, and explore and develop market opportunities for specialty crops. The program's website provides information on techniques, grants, events, projects, and other news and information.

Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado
A Colorado non-profit based out of Durango working primarily in La Plata County to foster communication, collaboration, and solutions to help create a sustainable and healthy community that preserves and restores the natural environment and promotes economic growth and vitality.

Tipsheets from CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture):

US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA)
USFRA is an alliance formed from farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners that acts on the national, regional, and state levels aiming for continuous improvement and fostering dialogue between Americans and farmers/ranchers about how food is grown and raised.

USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service offers annual funding in an effort to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop production. Eligibility for funding is contingent upon the projects ability to increase competitiveness of Colorado grown specialty crops in either foreign or domestic markets.

USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program
USDA program that supports beginning farmers and ranchers who have less than 10 years of experience. The website provides an online database that features information for training and assistance programs, funding and networking.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help agricultural producers and others care for the land with goals that include high quality, productive soils; clean and abundant water sources; healthy flora and fauna; clean air; an ample energy supply; and working farms and ranchlands.

USDA Wholesale and Retail Price Reporting
Fruit and vegetable price data for different markets around the country, collected by the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Western Rural Development Center
The WRDC aims to help rural communities thrive and become self-sustaining by sharing scientific discovery and application of sustainable practices with rural citizens via conferences, trainings, webinars, and publications. The western region encompasses 13 states, Colorado included.

Winrock International Good Food Network
An organization that fosters sustainable agricultural systems through research, policy analyses, and education that benefit farmers, urban and rural communities, our natural resources and the health of our citizens. This website provides links to projects, publications, and events.

Working with Retail Buyers (2004)
Information for farmers who are considering selling their products through retail stores. It may also help farmers already working with retail buyers improve their business opportunities through better practices. Brokers or representatives of farmers' marketing cooperatives will find this report helps build strong relationships with retail buyers.

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Linking Producers to Restaurants, Workplaces and Other Institutions

A Sense of Place: Serving Local Food at Your Meeting
Guidelines developed for conference organizers, meeting planners, or event coordinators who are interested in supporting local farmers or who seek to highlight local or regional flavors.

Community Supported Agriculture for the Workplace (2008)
Guide for developing workplace community supported agriculture distributions.

Emerging Corporate Strategies for Working with Small-Scale Producers and Making Their Products Available Regionally (2005)
Presents SYSCO's recent initiatives in supporting sustainable agriculture and working with small-scale producers to meet regional and national demands for local food products.

Guide to Developing a Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy (2006)
This guide is intended to help universities, colleges, hospitals, and other institutions create, promote and implement practical sustainable food purchasing policies.

Guide to Serving Local Food at Your Next Event
Pamphlet designed to help planners of conferences, seminars, retreats, conventions and other public events use locally produced foods.

Guide to Serving Local Food on Your Menu
Primer to help foodservice managers and directors, caterers, chefs, restaurateurs and others consider creative ways to incorporate fresh, local products into almost any foodservice setting.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition
Founded by farmers and food industry leaders, the Farmer-Veteran Coalition aims to create healthy and viable futures for veterans by enlisting their help to mobilize the security of the food and farming community, building a green economy, and rebuilding rural communities.

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Linking Producers to Schools-Networks, Directories and Guides

Colorado Farm to School
Launched in 2010 with a USDA grant, the Colorado Farm to School Program aims to get healthy, sustainably produced, local food to school children while providing education. Work centers around reaching out to schools, producers, and community members.

Colorado Pride School Meal Day (2012)
Each year the Colorado Departments of Agriculture and Education invite schools to participate in a celebration of local agriculture and provide education to school children about healthy eating.

Farm to Cafeteria Conference (2012)
Farm to Cafeteria began with the common goal of building strong communities, healthy individuals, and resilient local farms. This conference will bring together food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government, students and others. There will be skill buildings short-courses, field trips to innovative farms and institutions, workshops, and plenty of networking opportunities.

Farm to School 101: Farm Aid Toolkit (2007)
Guidebook to introduce communities to farm to school distribution programs, including essential steps, resources, and case studies.

Farm to School Legislation: A State by State Listing (updated 2008)
Summary and links to legislations.

Going Local: Paths to Success for Farm to School Programs (2006)
Case studies of innovative farm to school programs from around the country.

Mapping School Food: A Policy Guide (2007)
Policy guide that examines key issues and situations faced by key decision-makers who draft and/or enforce school food policy.

National Farm to School
National Farm to School network online.

National Farm to School Program: Colorado Profile
Colorado's profile on the growing farm-to-school initiatives that includes information on policy, starting a farm-to-school program in CO, webinars, funding, farms and farmers, events, and many more resources.

New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Program (2011)
This federal rule made under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is designed to help bring local, fresh, nutritional food to school children, to support the USDA‘s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and to provide revenue for local producers.

Results from 2006 Farm to School Survey of Colorado Food Service Operations
Summary of responses and findings, including recommendations for promoting farm to school programs.

State Farm to School Policies (updated 2008)
Information on statewide action on farm-to-school programs, which combine two popular ideas: Providing students with fresh, healthy food while increasing their knowledge of nutrition and agriculture; and bolstering local agricultural economies with new markets.

USDA Farm to School Program
This USDA Farm to School site provides information on grants, implementing farm to school programs, and a wide variety of other resources that support farm to school activities.

USDA Recurring Funding Opportunities for Farm to School Programs
A wide variety of funding is available for schools, farmers, and community.

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Community Assessments and Toolkits

Access to Healthy Foods and the City of Wheat Ridge (2011)
Study conducted by LiveWell Wheat Ridge in the fall of 2010 on residents' access to fresh fruits and vegetables and locally grown foods.

Action Strategies Toolkit: A Guide for Local and State Leaders Working to Create Healthy Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity
Policy options and resources that have been identified, evaluated and selected by “Leadership for Healthy Communities” and the 11 policy-maker organizations participating in the program (briefs, papers). Covers the following subjects:

A New Way to Look at Food and Agriculture:
Community Food Systems (2004)

Provides definitions of community food system elements.

Community economic impact assessment for a multi-county local food system in northeast Iowa (2009)
Documents the economic impacts of several individual local food and farm businesses in the Black Hawk County region of north Iowa.

Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit
USDA ERS standardized measurement tools for assessing various aspects of community food security.

Community Garden Legal Toolkit
Toolkit designed to help overcome the legal and practical barriers to establishing community gardens on land that is not municipally owned. It provides several model agreements and other documents that can easily be tailored, simplifying the process of building an agreement that benefits both landowners and the community.

Farm to School: Food Procurement (2011)
This document looks at the management and cost of school food in Colorado and it offers examples of how school districts can get more fresh food into their food programs.

Growing a Community Food System
Discusses the key processes involved in developing community food systems projects.

Healthy Kids Healthy Farmers: Results from the 2008 Producer Survey
Summary of farmers' concerns and attitudes about local production and sales outlets.

La Plata County Colorado Food Assessment (2007)
This assessment covers food production, school food programs, food security and community food projects.

USDA Farm to School Evaluation (2011)
This first report by the USDA on the farm-to-school initiatives set in place to help increase farmers' markets and bring fresh food to school highlights successes and challenges of the program. The report offers ways to strengthen the program and replicate it in other regions.

Wheat Ridge City Code Changes to Permit Urban Ag
Wheat Ridge, CO city code changes to support and encourage urban agriculture with urban gardens, farmers' markets, and produce stands.

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Calculators and Databases

A Geography of Taste: Iowa's Potential for Developing Place-Based Traditional Foods (2004)
Overview of how place-based and traditional food products function in the marketplace and how those products provide premiums to farmers. Also explores Iowa's historical, ecological, cultural, and economic potential for developing place-based and traditional food products; and makes recommendations for action to research and further explore this opportunity.

AMS farmers' market price data
USDA price data collected for several farmers' markets in the U.S. Scroll down near the bottom of the page under Farmers Market and Auction Reports.

Calculating Food Miles for a Multiple Ingredient Food Product (2005)
Calculates the weighted total source distance (WTSD) for the primary ingredients that make strawberry yogurt as an example of how such analyses should be conducted.

Comparing Food Miles for Local versus Conventional Produce Sales to Iowa Institutions (2003)
Calculates the weighted average source distance WASD or food miles for various types of fresh produce delivered to Iowa institutions from local sources.

Estimating the Economic Impact of Public Markets
Methodology and tool created by marketumbrella.org.

Farmers' Market Price Reporting
Price data from around the country collected by USDA's Ag Marketing Service.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN: Food Price Index
This price index measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities for a wide variety of crops grown globally.

Food Desert Locator
Mapping tool that pinpoints the location of food deserts across the U.S, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

Food System Development Survey
A survey cosponsored by American Farmland Trust, The Wallace Center at Winrock International, the Michigan State U. Center for Regional Food Systems, and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Anyone who spends a significant portion of their work using community development strategies in working with farmers, business people, government agency staff, local residents, or other persons or entities to create or strengthen the viability, equity, and sustainably of food systems is asked to voluntarily complete the 15 minute survey.

Healthy Counties Database
Search for model policies, programs and initiatives that counties nationwide have enacted to promote wellness and help prevent childhood obesity.

Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Planner
Example of a tool created for producers, marketers, food buyers and others interested in the potential impacts of various changes within a specified target market or region. Results can be used to develop joint purchasing initiatives, coordinate food fund raisers, or for educational applications.

Market Price Reports: Fresh Produce, Meat and Cut Flowers
CSU Extension price reports from local markets starting in 2011. This information is intended to help producers understand how price points differ by market, see what products are available in other markets, and plan for future production by better estimating potential revenue.

National Good Food Network Database
The National Good Food Network Database is a searchable resource of knowledge, people/organizations and funders focused on the work of scaling up good food. It is designed to provide an unprecedented level of access to cutting edge value chain research, business plans, innovative models of aggregation and distribution of local foods, and connection to the people—producers, brokers, retailers, NGOs, small businesses and distributors, among others—with experience and expertise to share, and the funders—public, private and philanthropic—poised to support this work.

Physical Inactivity Cost Calculator
Provide an estimate of the financial cost of physically inactive people to a particular community, city, state or business.

U.S. Food Market Estimator
Designed to help users determine the potential demand ( by county for the entire United States), for more than 200 different food items. The tool provides information for 204 food products, including various dairy and meat products, fruit, vegetables and grains. Users select how they want results to be shown: by number of servings, pounds produced, truckloads transported, even cubic feet of warehouse space needed to store a particular product. Products can be shown individually, or as groups of products at key stages of the food supply chain. Results can be adjusted to reflect a particular market share, or the unit of measure changed from pounds to other units in order to suit a variety of needs such as number of servings, truckloads per day or cubic feet of warehousing needed each week.

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Policy Articles, Resources and Case Studies

A Comparison of Prices at Farmers' Markets and Supermarkets (2011)
An assessment done by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont shows that farmers' markets are more affordable and can often be cheaper than supermarkets, despite popular belief. This study aims to dismantle barriers that discourage people from shopping in farmers' markets in hopes to increase the numbers, vitality and economic success of the nation's farmers' markets.

Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
This non-profit advances sustainability through collaboration among non-profits, business, government and education that includes the people, planet, profit, practice, and a long-term perspective. Issues include climate change, community design, economic development and sustainability, education, energy, food, government, materials and waste, natural resource conservation, population, public health, social equality, transportation, and water.

An Analysis of Food-Chain Demand for Differentiated Farm Commodities: Implications for the Farm Sector
Examines consumer and institutional demand for locally produced, natural, organic and other differentiated food products.

Colorado Agricultural Research, Development, and Education Center
These 7 facilities located statewide provide faculty, staff, students, agricultural producers, processors, agribusiness representatives, natural resource managers, governmental agencies and others with the opportunity to participate in work conducted on-site. These facilities host school groups and community groups as well.

Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council
This council was established through a LiveWell Colorado-initiated Senate Bill 10-106 to address issues surrounding the availability of healthy foods to Colorado residents while enhancing and revitalizing agriculture and natural resources and fostering economic growth.

Community Supported Agriculture in the Midwest U.S.:
A Regional Characterization (2005)

Descriptive information on operations and farmers, as well as data on finances and labor from CSA farms located in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Consumer Preferences for Fruit and Vegetables with Credence-Based Attributes: A Review (2011)
Consumer demand for an increasingly wider array of food attributes affects purchases and the food marketing sector is responding. This study aims to identify and rank a number of attributes and how they affect consumer purchase decisions.

Counties and Local Food Systems: Ensuring Healthy Foods, Nurturing Healthy Children (2007)
Contains four methods and case studies for how county governments can support their local food systems. It was written with a focus on obesity prevention, but read¬ers interested in the links between agriculture and economic development, environmental protection, and food security will also find the content useful.

Demonstration of and Best Practices for Creating Fruit and Vegetable Oases in Food Deserts
A project out of Ohio State University that aims to bridge the gap between food deserts, areas with limited access to fresh, nutritional, affordable food, in rural and urban communities in Ohio with a commitment to understanding the extent of food deserts within the state, as well as to increasing access to healthy foods (including specialty crops) in these communities.

Farm to School: Food Procurement (2011)
This document looks at the management and cost of school food in Colorado and offers examples of how school districts can get more fresh food into their school meal programs.

Farm Foundation: A Catalyst for Sound Public Policy
Farm Foundation, NFP, is a public charity that provides objective analysis of economic and public policy issues in order to help foster a better understanding of their impact on the future of agriculture, food systems, and rural regions.

Food Drives Global Politics (2011)
An NPR report that examines global issues surrounding the impact of rising food prices, a growing world population, current and future food production, and the leasing of land by local governments to foreign governments.

Food, Fuel and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Far Food Travels, Fuel Usage, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2001)
Paper discusses transportation from farm to point of sale within local, regional, and conventional food systems and implications for the climate.

Food Hubs: Keys to Success (2011)
This article from the publication “Rural Cooperatives” addresses typical causes for failure of food hubs and offers solutions on how they can enhance their chances of success and supply consumers' growing demand for locally produced goods.

Food Safety Modernization Act (2011)
New legislation that aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it.

Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development
An online international, peer-reviewed publication focused on the practice and applied research interests of agriculture and food systems development professionals and scholars.

Michelle Obama's Let's Move Program
An initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama that is dedicated to combating the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States by educating parents and children about healthy food and lifestyle choices, creating environments that foster healthy choices, giving schools and families access to fresh food, and increasing activity levels in children.

New Childhood Obesity Policy Snapshot Series
The Partnership for a Healthy America is releasing policy snapshots to highlight how food access is linked to childhood obesity. These one page “snapshot” documents provide facts and analysis on specific health issues. These documents also provide useful background data to help support the farm-to-school initiatives.

New USDA Rule Encourages the Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Program (2011)
A federal rule made under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is designed to help bring local, fresh and nutritional food to school children, to support the USDA‘s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and to provide much needed revenue for local producers.

Northern Colorado Regional Food System Assessment (2011)
Conducted in Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties, this study's goals were to understand the local food system as it relates to public health, economic development and the quality of life; identify economic development opportunities resulting from current gaps in the food system; and document needs and possible projects to strengthen the local food system.

Ready to Grow: A Plan for Increasing Illinois Fruit and Vegetable Production (2010)
Provides an action plan aimed at reducing the barriers to increasing the supply of Illinois-grown fruits and vegetables into the Illinois wholesale marketplace and a feasibility study for a fresh produce aggregation and distribution facility.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (2011)
Following the goals of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010, President Obama declared September to be Childhood Obesity Awareness Month with the goal of finding solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States in one generation.

Scaling Up: Meeting the Demand for Local Food (2009)
UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) and UW-Extension Agricultural Innovation Center studied and documented eleven models of regional food aggregation and distribution.

The Geopolitics of Food (2011)
A study examining the unequal effects of rising food costs around the world and the impacts on the 2 billion poorest people, and how this food crisis is driving global politics. Examples given to explain problems with food production include a rapidly exploding world population, temperature increases affecting crops, and droughts.

US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance
USFRA is an alliance formed from prominent farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners that acts on the national, regional, and state levels aiming for continuous improvement and fostering dialogue between Americans and farmers/ranchers about how food is grown and raised.

USDA Farm to School Evaluation (2011)
This first report by the USDA on the farm-to-school initiatives set in place to help increase farm markets and bring fresh food to schools highlights successes and challenges of the program. The report offers ways to strengthen the program, as well as repeat it in other regions.

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Research and Other Resources

National Ag Library - Comunity Food Systems
USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center:

Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
Yale University publications on:

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin publications on:

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Iowa State University publications on:

Agriculture of the Middle
In particular, studies of “mid-scale food value chains”-- business structures that focus on strategic alliances that effectively operate at regional levels with significant volumes of high-quality, differentiated food products, and distribute profits equitably among the strategic partners.

Wallace Center: National Good Food Network
The National Good Food Network is bringing together people from all parts of the rapidly emerging good food system – producers, buyers, distributors, advocates, investors and funders – to create a community dedicated to scaling up good food sourcing and access. Research outputs include:

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Grant Opportunities

Community Development Financial Institution Fund (2011)
This fund was created to expand the capacity of financial institutions in the United States to enable them to provide underserved communities with affordable credit, capital, and financial services in order to promote economic revitalization and community development with greater access to healthy food.

Farmer's Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
USDA's FMPP grants are directed to help improve and expand domestic farmers' markets, roadside farmstands, and community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. A wide variety of institutions are eligible to apply.

Rural Business Opportunity Grants
An annual grant awarded by the USDA to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. Public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, and rural cooperatives are eligible to apply.

SARE Learning Center
This website from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program has information for agricultural educators, farmers, and ranchers, including grant information, books, videos, fact sheets, events, online courses, progress reports, state programs, and much more.

USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service offers annual funding in an effort to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop production. Eligibility for funding is contingent upon the projects ability to increase competitiveness of Colorado grown specialty crops in either foreign or domestic markets.

USDA Community Programs Grants
Funding available for rural communities under 20,000 people to help construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities including but not limited to schools, libraries, hospitals, medical clinics, and fire and rescue stations. Grants are available to public entities such as municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts, as well as noon-profit corporations and tribal governments.

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Updated Wednesday, January 08, 2014