We are working to build vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive urban food systems that provide healthy food for all residents. Our work integrates research, community engagement, outreach, education, and advocacy. Research and partnerships with community based food organizations will lead to the development of tools, educational curriculum, and training programs on community and regional food systems. Our initial activities are in Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit.
Research: We study challenges and innovations in urban food production, processing and distribution, economics, social relations, and policy. We develop tools that aid practitioners in their work.
Community Engagement: We work in collaboration with community organizations and grassroots initiatives to identify needs and opportunities in the food system. We support community engagement projects that can inform research, advocacy, or outreach efforts. Collaborating organizations will further research and action through innovation grant projects.
Outreach: Our outreach efforts include communications tools (web-site, blog, electronic newsletter, list-serves), curriculum development, training, and the development of tools for use by food system practitioners. Our partner organization, Growing Power, leads in offering hands-on training programs in urban agriculture production.
Education: Graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be involved in research through courses, internships, and research fellowships. We are developing a curriculum on urban agriculture for the PEOPLE program, a UW-Madison summer pre-college enrichment program.
Advocacy: We have partnered with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) to work on federal, state, and policy issues. Effective policy can help community and regional food systems grow. Our programs will educate and engage food system practitioners in advocating for supportive policies.