Re: Local food systems


Regional Food Systems (RFS) is now a central program emphasis at the Center
for Integrated Agricultural Systems.  We are a relatively small research and
communications outfit at the University of Wisconsin and we tend to focus on
issues facing small and mid-sized farms.  Past and current research areas
include: energy use in the food system, Community Supported Agriculture,
rotational grazing, and alternative marketing.

We launched our RFS program two years ago by conducting a "regional food
systems seminar" that brought together University faculty and
representatives of various sectors of the food system to explore regionally
self-reliant food systems.  The final report from this seminar - "Regional
Food Systems Research: Needs Priorities and Recommendations" - is available
free (see contact information below...email requests preferred).  We also
have a small but growing number of research briefs published that cover RFS
issues, including:

-A series on CSA
-A series on energy use in the food system
-Case studies of alternative farming/marketing/value-added enterprises

You likely would be most interested in a brief about the Coulee Region
Organic Produce Pool (CROPP) a successful coop marketing organic dairy
products, eggs, and vegetables.   In process are case studies of Home Grown
Wisconsin (a co-op organized by organic vegetable farmers and Madison chefs)
and the River Valley Kitchen Project (a multiple-use food processing
facility that could potentially serve many growers).  To learn more about
Home Grown Wisconsin, visit the Center for Coops' web page at

You can learn more about CIAS at:  http://www.wisc.edu/cias

Local food systems are getting more and more attention these days.  I have
files and files of stuff...  One thing you should definitely check out is a
soon-to-be-published report by Fenton Wilkinson in Washington titled:
"Sustainable Community Food Systems Economic Feasiblity Study."  It brings
together much of what is currently known.

Good luck with your efforts!  Eat well.  -John

At 09:46 AM 1/22/97 -0500, you wrote:
>Discussions on this list often focus on negative conditions in the ecosystem 
>and in our culture. And, certainly, there are many of those situations to 
>discuss. I would like to focus on strategies for building community food 
>systems that support local and regional growers, strengthen rural economies, 
>and, probably most importantly, provide urban residents access to fresh, 
>minimally processed food. Although, local processing and packaging is an 
>important consideration in building community food systems.
>These goals are an important part of our strategy to build sustainable 
>systems in Indiana. We are always looking for more information on what 
>others are doing and what literature sources are available. We would like to 
>build more market infrastructure (increase the effectiveness of farmers' 
>markets, establish wholesale markets and marketing pools, etc.) in our quest 
>to boost the sustainability of family style farming. Another facet of our 
>strategy is to involve cooperative extension in this process.
>Any contributions (real examples and literature citations) would be 
>appreciated. I'll accept philosophical considerations only if you will agree 
>to receive two shovelfuls or each one you toss. 
>Steve Bonney, President
>Indiana Sustainable Agriculture Association
>100 Georgton Ct.
>W. Lafayette IN 47906
>(317) 463-9366, fax (317) 497-0164
>email sbonney@holli.com

John Hendrickson
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1450 Linden Drive, Room 146
Madison, WI  53706
(608) 265-3704