Local & Regional Food Systems


New Funding for Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion

January 13, 2017

USDA Farmers Market. Photo credit: USDA Over the past decade, the growth in local and regional food systems has been tremendous: farmers markets have shot up by 180 percent, regional food hubs have expanded by 288 percent, and school district participation in farm to school programs has increased by 430 percent. These systems are fast […]

Local Food: From Grassroots Movement to Mature Marketplace

January 11, 2017

The term “local food” means many things to many people. For some it defines a particular geographic area, while for others it means good, high quality food. A recent survey published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) reveals that, varying conceptions aside, the local food market has matured into […]

NSAC’s Sweet 16: Top Wins for Sustainable Agriculture in 2016

December 28, 2016

If some years are rollercoasters, 2016 was more like the tilt-a-whirl – a lot of effort spent to turn just slightly in one direction or another, much spinning in circles, and a headache at the end for your trouble. Despite all the stop and starts, however, the sustainable agriculture community came out of the last […]

Local/Regional Food Sector Moves Out of Data Dark Ages

December 20, 2016

Data is crucial for any well functioning market – producers, investors, and consumers alike need to understand market trends and dynamics in order to make sound business decisions. This is as true for farmers and ranchers as it is for Wall Street executives. Growers, however, have long struggled due to a lack of useful data […]

A Last Minute Gift for Urban Agriculture from Ohio’s Longest Serving Representative

December 19, 2016

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture honored Cleveland’s Ohio City Farm by naming it a national model of successful urban agriculture. Spanning nearly 6 acres, Ohio City Farm is one of the nation’s largest contiguous farms and a prime example of how traditionally rural activities like farming can revitalize and reinvigorate urban areas. Representative […]

Washington State’s Food System Gets Boost from Value-Added Grant

December 1, 2016

Editor’s Note: This profile is the final piece of a 3-part series highlighting the ability of the competitive Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program to support projects that promote local and regional economic growth. On October 27, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service awarded 326 farm businesses a total of $45.6 million through VAPG. Visit […]

Expanding Producer and Consumer Choice through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program

November 22, 2016

Editor’s Note: This profile is part two of a 3-part series highlighting the impact of the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program in supporting projects that promote local and regional economic growth. On October 27, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service awarded 326 farm businesses a total of $45.6 million through VAPG. Visit […]

RFA Roundup: Deadlines for Federal Food and Farm Program Grants

October 28, 2016

The start-up of the new fiscal year (FY) means that many food and farm programs have started to get out Requests for Applications (RFAs) for their grant programs. While a flood of grant program announcements is generally good news, with so many coming out in the midst of a busy election year, it can be […]

USDA Awards $46 Million for Farm Value-Added Business Development

October 27, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of three posts on the Fiscal Year 2016 awards for the Value Added Producer Grants program. This post provides an overview of the awards. A second and third post will dig deeper into specific awards. When farmers and entrepreneurs take raw agricultural products, like vegetables or […]

Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program Connects Low-Income Families with Healthy Options

October 21, 2016

Every family needs and deserves access to fresh, healthy foods, but for far too many Americans a healthy meal made from fresh ingredients seems like just a dream. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was designed to help assist lower-income families with food purchases, but because benefit levels are low, purchasing fresh, local produce remains […]

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