Agricultural Programs

Regional Food Systems

Overview

The California Department of Food and Agriculture funded the Great Valley Center to lead an effort to increase the amount of locally grown and identified agricultural products making their way into the City of San Francisco in 2010-11. This project was developed from a recommendation from the San Francisco Urban Rural Roundtable (URRT).  Project partners conducted trade missions and outreach calls to hotels, caterers, health food stores and other food buyers in San Francisco, establishing relationships and a distribution infrastructure between growers and buyers of specialty crop products. The interaction between groups increased the distribution and availability of regionally grown (150 mile radius/16 counties) products to San Francisco residents. GVC worked with committed partners Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), Marin Organic and FarmsReach/Om Organics in completing this project.

What is a regional food system?

A regional food system is one that increases the availability, consumption, production and access to locally grown and processed foods, while meeting the economic, social, health and environmental needs of the communities within a region.

Resources

This is the beginning of a growing list of resources. The groups and publications listed below are just a few examples of numerous organizations working to promote locally grown foods, provide access to nutritious foods and support their local economy.

The Case for Local Regional Food Marketing
This publication examines the opportunities and barriers for creating local and regional food networks.

Making Healthy Food More Accessible for Low-Income People
Farm and Food Project
This background paper addresses access to healthy, nutritious, locally grown food and makes policy recommendations for the Farm Bill.

Ecotrust-Guide to Local and Seasonal Products
The Guide to Local and Seasonal Products matches farmers, ranchers, and fishermen with chefs, retailers, institutions, caterers, and other food buyers who are looking to purchase locally grown foods.

Edible Sacramento
Edible Sacramento provides information and resources in their quarterly magazine and web site to promote locally-grown and locally produced foods in Yolo, Sacramento and Placer Counties.

Edible Shasta-Butte
A quarterly magazine highlighting food from Butte County north to the Oregon border and west to California’s coastal range. The magazine features local farmers, vintners, brewmasters, artisan food producers, chefs, and food-related businesses, and tells their stories to promote living in a way that values what is local and seasonal.

Grow Montana
Grow Montana is a broad-based coalition whose common purpose is promoting community economic development policies that support sustainable, Montana-owned food production, processing, and distribution, thereby improving citizens’ access to Montana grown foods.

Monday Farmers Market CSA
The Monday Farmers Market CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) located in Jefferson County, New York, is a farmer’s market located in a neighborhood that had limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Members or “share-holders” of the farm buy shares at the beginning of the season to help cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation. In return they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as the satisfaction gained from knowing where their food is coming from and building a relationship with the farmers who grow it.

BALLE
The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is an international alliance of more than 50 independently operated local business networks with more than 15,000 members dedicated to ensuring that economic power resides locally, healthy community life and natural life are sustainable as well as long-term economic viability. BALLE’s mission is to support, connect, and strengthen local, independent businesses dedicated to building living economies, which increase prosperity, fortify community, and ensure environmental health.

Food Access Solutions to Create Healthy Counties
This is the third in a series of issue briefs published by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in an effort to engage county officials and key department staff around the issues of health promotion and obesity prevention.

Buy Fresh, Buy Local
The Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign helps consumers find and choose local products while building relationships between growers, food artisans, farmers’ markets retailers, restaurants, and institutions.

University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
Provides research and information to help strenghten connections between farmers, consumers, and communities.

This program was supported by a grant from:

California Department of Food and Agriculture