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 Agricultural Leadership Program
Individuals interested in enhancing their understanding of public affairs and developing their expertise in guiding matters affecting Colorado agriculture and rural communities should apply. Program open to any individual serving rural communities, production agriculture, all related agricultural industry and businesses, extension services and education.

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 Agricultural Leadership Program
Individuals interested in enhancing their understanding of public affairs and developing their expertise in guiding matters affecting Colorado agriculture and rural communities should apply. Program open to any individual serving rural communities, production agriculture, all related agricultural industry and businesses, extension services and education.

Colorado Charitable Crop Donation Act (2014)
This Act (HB-1119) offers a 25-percent tax credit to food producers who file a Schedule “F” for federal income taxes—for the wholesale value of the food they donate to Feeding Colorado food banks, beginning in 2015. By encouraging donations of fresh food, the Act will provide access to more locally grown fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat for the 1 in 7 Coloradans who struggle to put food on their tables.

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 Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
A new organization serving Colorado’s fruit and vegetable industry. Growers of all sizes from across the state are invited to join. In addition, CFVGA encourages suppliers, consumers, and anyone else who supports the fruit and vegetable industry in Colorado to join. CFVGA provides many benefits for members, including education, and publishing a newsletter and member directory online.

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.

Direct To Consumer Farm Law – 25 Topics - Webinar Series
Webinar series on a variety of legal issues faced by farmers who sell direct to consumers, hosted by Farm Commons. All webinars are archived and access is free. Topics include: Getting Farm Work Done Legally With Interns, Apprentices, And Volunteers, Going In-Depth With CSA Farm Law, Sales Contracts for Farm Produce: Why and How, Food Safety Liability And Regulations For The Farm, Adding Value Without Adding Legal Liability To Farm Products, Hosting Safe, Legally Secure Farm Events, Put Your CSA On Strong Legal Footing, and more.

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.

Food Systems and the Farm Bill
The 2014 Farm Bill provides Colorado’s farmers and ranchers with much-needed certainty and predictability, cuts red tape by consolidating and streamlining dozens of programs and ultimately reduces the deficit by $23 billion.

Growing Roots in Farm to School (2015) - Webinar Series (Recorded)
11-part webinar series by USDA Farm to School Program to help schools build their farm to school skills and develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom. Video and presentations from past webinars are available online.

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.

Is Organic an Option for Me? - Resource
USDA brochure providing overview on organic regulations, getting certified, funding opportunities and educational resources for farmers, ranchers and businesses considering organic agricultural practices.

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.

Social Media and Other Neat Online Marketing Tools Training for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
Beyond the Farm Gate Project provides social media marketing tutorials and resources to help farm businesses establish and maintain an effective online presence for their farm and ranch. Guides, video tutorials and resource links help farmers and ranchers effectively utilize various social media outlets.

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 Evaluation Toolkit
Created by the Colorado Farm to School Task Force and Spark Policy Institute, this toolkit is a resource to help farm to school programs of all sizes, in all states, evaluate their programs. Specifically designed for non-evaluators, it walks participants through each step of an evaluation, providing easy-to-follow guidance for planning, implementing, and reporting results. Hyperlinks to data collection tools are tied to the farm to school outcomes, making it simple to find the right tool to measure the impact of your program.

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.

National Farm to School Network Evaluation for Transformation Tool
The first comprehensive resource that defines the outcomes farm to school can achieve across multiple sectors, offering common language, guidelines and metrics to help users understand and articulate those outcomes.

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

2012 Census of Agriculture
Conducted every five years, the U.S. Census of Agriculture provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The agriculture census presents more than 6 million pieces of information, which provide a detailed look at the U.S. farm sector at the national, state and county levels.

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.

Building a Food Hub From the Ground Up (2015) - Case Study
USDA case study for those considering a food hub in their community. This case study provides technical guidance on designing and budgeting for physical food hub infrastructure. Tuscarora Organic Growers, staff architect at AMS Marketing Services, Fidel Delgado, and USDA Rural Development‘s Jim Barham crafted this prototype guidance document to explore the relationship between physical infrastructure expansion and prudent investment.

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 Local and Regional Food Systems (CLRFS)
Hosted by the Community, Local and Regional Food Systems eXtension Community of Practice, CLRFS eCoP provides 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.

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.

Expanding Fruit and Vegetable Access In Schools - Report
This School Food FOCUS report details the dynamics that influence the use of fruits and vegetables in K-12 settings and the supply chains that currently provide produce to the large, urban school districts of the Upper Midwest Regional Learning Lab. The analysis highlights strategies to expand these districts’ access to affordable, quality produce, with a focus on opportunities for investment by philanthropic organizations.

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.

Farm-to-Food Bank Strategies Report
Northwest Harvest released a report to help hunger relief organizations provide more fresh fruits and vegetables to their food bank clients. Prepared by Urban Food Link, this report serves as a guide for agencies looking to build strong relationships with farmers. The organization interviewed programs across the country and surveyed over 300 Northwest Harvest agencies to better understand the barriers around reaching out to farmers. The report provides four key strategies for increasing the amount of fresh, local produce available in the hunger relief network.

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.

Food Value Chains Resource
"Food Value Chains: Creating Shared Value to Enhance Marketing Success," released by the Wallace Center, American University and USDA, provides guidance on how food value chains are structured, how they function, and the benefits they provide to participants, with the intent of encouraging their adoption where the opportunities for successful collaboration exist among organizations with compatible principles and complementary areas of expertise.

Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System (2015) - Report
The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council released a new report which offers a framework for assessing the effects of the interconnected US food system: in health, environmental, social and economic dimensions.

Front Range at Forefront of Agricultural Value Chain Innovation (2014) - Study
Colorado has a long history of innovation in the agriculture, food, and beverage industries. CSU released a study which shows the potential of these and other food system sectors emerging to drive growth in Colorado’s food and agriculture industry.

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.

Growing Farm to Hospital (Farmer-Focused) - Report
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) assessed the current and potential health care food markets for North Central region sustainable farmers. They collaborated with three health systems (Fairview Health Services, Hudson Hospital and Clinics, and the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota) and an advisory committee of farmers, hospital representatives and food systems experts to gather and analyze data to provide insights into opportunities for and roadblocks to hospital sourcing of more local, sustainably produced food. A resource toolkit is also available help farmers better understand and access the hospital market.

Growing Food Connections
A research, planning and outreach initiative to strengthen community food systems across the United States, Growing Food Connections acts as a resource repository for communities looking to broaden access to healthy food and sustain their local farms and food producers through public policy.

Growing Food Connections Policy Database
A searchable collection of local public policies that explicitly support community food systems. Database provides policymakers, government staff, and others interested in food policy with concrete examples of adopted local public policies that address a range of food system issues.

Hospitals and Healthy Food Fact Sheet (2014)
Written in collaboration with The Union of Concerned Scientists and Johns Hopkins University's Center for a Livable Future, the fact sheet maps out how policy in the Farm Bill (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives, "FINI") and the Affordable Care Act ("Community Benefit" requirements) can bring hospitals, insurers and community groups into partnerships for disease prevention through access to healthy foods.

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 Food Cluster
This non-profit creates a healthy community through a resilient, local food system and supporting and promoting local food production, distribution and consumption. The Northern Colorado Food Cluster takes an economic development approach to the food system making it one of a handful of regions in the country to do so.

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.

Nutrition Assistance in Farmers Markets (2014) - Study
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) funded a portfolio of three large-scale studies on how farmers markets function within SNAP in an effort to understand and expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants.

A Periodic Review of Food Research and Action
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) produced FRACFocus: Obesity and Poverty. This periodic e-newsletter focuses on obesity as it relates to low-income children and adults, looking at the intersection of obesity, income, food insecurity, the federal nutrition programs, and federal food and nutrition policy. Each issue highlights relevant research and reports recently released from academia, government agencies, and health and advocacy organizations.

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.

Small Acreage Farming - ERS Report
Approximately 294,000 U.S. farms operated on 10 or fewer acres in 2007, according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. While most small acreage (SA) operations did little farming, about 50,000 had sales of $10,000 or more in 2007. This USDA Economic Research Service report focuses on SA farms, especially those grossing $10,000 or more per year, and examines such characteristics as production strategies, types of products, sales, household income, and financial performance.

Tool to Help Farmers Markets Accept SNAP
MarketLink, recently launched by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, helps farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers become authorized to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) benefits. The site also provides information on obtaining the equipment necessary to process SNAP benefits.

Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems (2015) - Report
USDA Economic Research Service Report on local and regional food systems trends, including examples featuring Colorado. It details the latest economic information on local food producers, consumers, and policy, relying on findings from several national surveys and a synthesis of recent literature to assess the current size of and recent trends in local and regional food systems.

Urban Agriculture Survey Report
Results on a survey of urban agriculture organizations and businesses illustrate the wide range of agricultural activities practiced in urban landscapes across the U.S. and Canada.

USDA Ag Census Online Interactive Web Maps
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Web Maps application, a dynamic online tool that gives users rapid access to Census of Agriculture maps and data about crops and plants, livestock and animals, economics, farms, and operators in more than 3,000 counties across the United States.

USDA’s New Farmers Site
A one-stop shop for new and beginning farmers entering agriculture. The site is designed to be a practical, workable tool that will help tomorrow’s farmers and ranchers tap into the range of USDA resources today. This new resource features direct links to USDA programs and services, as well as case studies about how USDA support is being put to work to for America’s agriculture future.

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.

Wholesome Wave Fact Sheets
Wholesome Wave is a U.S. nonprofit organization that creates partnership-based programs to increase access to and affordability of fresh, locally grown food in historically excluded urban and rural communities. They collect and evaluate data on all of their initiatives and provide them in easy to read Fact Sheets showing that increasing affordability and access to locally grown fruits and vegetables improves health, supports small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolsters local and regional economies.

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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.

Guide to USDA Funding For Food Systems
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs contains dozens of the federal programs and policies that are most important to sustainable agriculture and shows how they can be used to secure resources by farmers, ranchers, communities, and grassroots organizations nationwide.

NIFTI Guide to Metrics and Evaluation for Farm Incubators (2014)
The National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI) Guide to Metrics and Evaluation for Farm Incubator Projects provides the staff of land-based beginning farmer training programs with the knowledge, tools, and resources to create rigorous evaluation protocols for their organizations. Contains suggestions, guidelines, and over 65 pages of appendices including sample surveys, class evaluations, and more, compiled with the help of dozens of farm incubators throughout North America.

Reducing Food Waste: Creative Solutions for Schools
USDA has created an infographic and compiled creative solutions to end school food waste. Food waste is an issue of increasing interest to many in the food system. There are many ways to reduce, recycle, and recover food waste in school cafeterias. By implementing these ideas, schools play a vital role in scaling back the amount of food taking up precious landfill space.

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

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
Organizations can apply to BFRDP for grants to provide education, training, technical assistance and outreach for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and managers of non-industrial private forest land who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less and those who aim to start. Priority given to projects that are partnerships and collaborations led by or including non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and school-based agricultural educational organizations with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach.

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.

Community Food Project Grants
Increasing access to healthy, local food and improving food security works best when communities are able to develop their own solutions, based on local knowledge, assets, and needs. The Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program (CFP) awards grants to eligible nonprofits, tribal organizations, and food program service providers to promote self-sufficiency and food security, address specific needs, and provide comprehensive, community-based solutions in low-income communities. Projects vary in scope, ranging from community gardens with market stands to marketing and consumer cooperatives, but must involve low-income participants.

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.

Local Food Promotion Program
The 2014 Farm Bill recently expanded its funding and scope to include the promotion of local and regional food business enterprises that do not provide products directly to consumers, but rather serve as intermediaries to process, distribute, aggregate, and/or store locally or regionally produced food products. Funded through fiscal year 2018

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of more than $160 million in funding for research, education, and extension projects that address key challenges affecting U.S. agriculture production. NIFA will fund the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Organic Cost Share Program
USDA Ag Marketing Service administers two organic certification cost share programs. Each program provides cost share assistance, through participating states, to organic producers and/or organic handlers. Recipients must receive initial certification or continuation of certification from a USDA accredited certifying agent (ACA)

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.

Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (2501 Program)
The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program funds community based organizations, higher education institutions and tribes to assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in owning and operating farms, ranches and nonindustrial forest lands.

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.

USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)
The OREI seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education and extension activities. Funding opportunities available for projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. OREI is particularly interested in projects that emphasize research, education and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information.

USDA Value-Added Producer Grants
The Value-Added Producer Grant program from USDA is available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or develop specialty and niche products—for working capital and planning activities.

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Updated Friday, May 08, 2015