Growing the Local/Regional Food System: Strategies for Sustainable and Equitable Economic Development

On February 18-19, nearly 45 participants came together in snowy Louisville, Ky for the workshop "Growing the Local/Regional Food System: Strategies for Sustainable and Equitable Economic Development."  Organized by the Environmental Fiance Center Network and the NADO Research Foundation through the Sustainable Community Learning Network, this event highlighted strategies for building and strengthening the local and regional food system as a way to develop economic prosperity and create healthy, inclusive communities.

Session themes included boosting local food manufacturing entrepreneurship, filling gaps in distribution networks and processing/storage infrastructure, gathering and using food system data, ensuring that low-income workers can access new food system jobs, and increasing healthy food options in underserved areas.  The event also included opportunities for networking, as well as mobile tours to explore exciting food systems initiatives underway in Louisville, including a visit to Jefferson County Public School's Central Kitchen, and a tour of food manufacturing and retail startups in Louisville's Portland neighborhood, a formerly distressed area and food desert that is being revitalized into a hub for food business entrepreneurship and innovation.

This page contains materials from the event, including the agenda, background information. presentation slides, photos, and additional resources.


Background Materials:

Workshop Agenda
Participant/Staff Contact Lists
Project Profiles
Tour Map

Presentation Slides:

"Equity: The Key to Growing a Strong Economy and Sustainable Food System"
Amanda Navarro, PolicyLink

"Louisville's Food Literacy and New Roots Projects"
Carol Gunderson, Food Literacy Project (click here for project video)
Karyn Moskowitz, New Roots

"Spurring Food Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation"
Brian Williams, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)
Rebeccah Schaffner, Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG)

"Promoting Economic Development and Equity with Food Policy Councils"
Nathan Rosenberg and Sasha Forbes, Natural Resources Defense Council

"Building an Inclusive Regional Food Economy"
Cheryal Hills, Region 5 Development Commission; Arlene Jones, Sprout MN; Ellie Lucas, Hunger-Free MN (click here for Choose Health video).

"Assessing the Regional Food System"
Bart Roberts, University at Buffalo Regional Institute
Debra Perry Institute for Sustainable Communities

"Distribution & Infrastructure Roundtable: Filling Gaps in the Food System"
Jill Jefferson, University of Maryland Environmental Fiance Center (video link)


Additional Resources:

Report:"Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems" (USDA Economic Research Services)

Report: "Building a Community-Based Sustainable Food System" (University of Michigan)

Report: "Garden to Cafeteria: A Step-by-Step Guide" (Michigan State University)

Report: "An Equitable Regional Food System for Greater Washington: The Imperative and Opportunity for Change" (Washington Regional Food Funders)

Webinar Recording: "Lessons from central Minnesota's Choose Health Program" (NADO Reseaerch Foundation)

Webinar Recording: "Food Policy and Regional Food Systems: Opportunities for Networking Across Jurisdictions" (Institute for Public Health Innovation)

Tool: "Roadmap Investment Evaluation Tool" (Wallace Center, Winrock International)

Tool: " Research Your Community" (Healthy Food Access Portal)