Evaluating Innovation and Promoting Success in Community and Regional Food Systems

This project is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA Award 2011-68004-30044).

The mission of this project is to integrate research, outreach, education and advocacy in order to better understand, develop and sustain community and regional food systems (CRFS) as a means of addressing food insecurity and related goals in American cities.

The project partners include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Growing Power, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Michigan State University, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and Iowa State University, in addition to community-based organizations in cities:  Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, IA and Madison, WI.

Research will be focused around the refinement and validation of a “Community and Regional Food System Framework”  for characterizing the components of successful Community and Regional Food Systems, along with associated tools and metrics for measuring these characteristic (Note: for our initial framework design, seethe attached: CRFS Framework).

Two types of research will be used:

  1. Case studies in seven cities by the major partners and collaborating experts, and
  2. Small research projects on specific topics that arise from the framework measurements, conducted by ten community-based organizations in eight cities.

The characterization framework and other research results will be incorporated in training materials and programs developed and delivered by Growing Power and UW-Extension.

The project will create opportunities for graduate and under-graduate college student involvement in research, and will create linkages to and develop curriculum for a UW-Madison pre-college enrichment program targeted at urban and tribal high school students in Wisconsin.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website or in project publications are those of project collaborators and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.