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Review of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program

In November, the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released its comprehensive evaluation of the state’s farmland protection program. Senate Resolution 2007-197 called for the assessment as the program approached its 20th anniversary and directed the committee to address nineteen issues—everything from project selection criteria to the potential use of state funds for enforcement actions.

Zoning Limitations and Opportunities for Farm Enterprise Diversification: Searching for New Meaning in Old Definitions

To aid agricultural zoning practitioners in understanding the theories and arguments under which a farmer’s use of his or her land will pass muster with local zoning officials, this article will explore the development of the body of law defining commercial agricultural operations in relation to state and local zoning exemptions in an effort to provide a continuum of how courts have expanded the definition of farm and agriculture exemptions in zoning ordinances with the hope that we might predict how courts in the future will interpret new farm diversification efforts.

Farmers' Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities

The purpose of this study is to examine the structure and operation of farmers’ markets in the United States, giving special attention to the legal and regulatory issues that may shape their operation. By looking at the rules and regulations markets use and by considering issues markets experience, it is possible to identify the most important challenges vendors and managers of markets may face. It is also possible to make some common sense suggestions on how markets can best address and resolve issues while maintaining their friendly and relatively informal nature.

Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy

This report focuses on the interdependency of land, food, and population in the U.S. economy. The United States is in a privileged situation compared to other nations in the world: the per capita endowment of natural resources is relatively high because of the relatively low population density. At the same time, the United States is seriously risking losing this privilege if more attention is not given to the control of population growth (including immigration), the sustainable management of natural resources, and the development of alternative energy sources.

Coming in to the Foodshed

Bioregionalists have championed the utility of the concept of the watershed as an organizing framework for thought and action directed to understanding and implementing appropriate and respectful human interaction with particular pieces of land. In a creative analogue to the watershed, permaculturist Arthur Getz has recently introduced the term "foodshed" to facilitate critical thought about where our food is coming from and how it is getting to us. We find the "foodshed" to be a particularly rich and evocative metaphor; but it is much more than metaphor.

Zoning to Protect Farming: A Citizens' Guidebook / National Agricultural Lands Study

This publication is for citizens interested in zoning to protect farming. It ex- plains reasons people give for protecting farms and farmland, describes how farms are converted to non-agricultural uses, explains zoning tools available to protect farming and includes some references to community case studies of farmland protection programs. It shows how people can help develop their own program to protect farming.

Local Foods: Estimating Capacity

While local food is enjoying new interest in much of the country, data revealing the extent of local food production and consumption are typically lacking. This lack of data has made it difficult to set local food goals and assess progress toward such goals. This paper describes two methods for quantifying local food consumption and presents estimation results using national and state data. The local food indicators presented in this article can be easily estimated with publicly available data, and represent low cost
indicators of local food use.

Food Miles: How Far Your Food Travels Has Serious Consequences for Your Health and the Climate

People are rediscovering the benefits of buying local food. It is good for your local economy because buying directly from family farmers in your area helps them stay in business. And by buying local, it means that your food isn’t traveling long distances by planes, trains, trucks, and ships, which all consume energy and spew pollution that contributes to global warming and unhealthy air quality. Plus you get the added benefit of what many chefs are saying is fresher, better tasting food on your table!

The New Mainstream: A Sustainable Food Agenda for California

After 159 in-depth interviews, review of over 700 datasets, consultation with over 50 data managers, deep consideration of key food system topics and general review of dozens more, proposals in the report include:
1. A theory of change for moving the sustainable food system from niche to mainstream
2. A vision for a sustainable food system for California
3. An outline of an implementation strategy for achieving the vision
4. Indicators of success to evaluate progress

Lessening the Distance Between Farm and Fork: Michigan Community Food Systems Initiative

In actualizing its mission of “supporting a healthy future where sustainable Michigan
farms feed Michigan people and Michigan people support these farms”, the CS Mott
Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University (Mott Group)
partners with community groups, policy makers, researchers, growers and consumers
to innovate and catalyze a food system that demonstrates access equity, health
promotion, and sustainable practices with local vibrancy. As one of its first statewide

The Story County Local Food System: Issues and Opportunities

Everywhere we look, whether it is the television, a newspaper article, or billboard, we see more and more people exclaiming the importance of “eating local”. What is less clear is why it is important and what if anything Story County can do to facilitate this growing movement. The purpose of this report is review over nine months of ongoing research by County planning and zoning staff that attempts to answer these questions.

The Case for Local and Regional Food Marketing

Communities across the United States are enjoying healthier food grown bylocal farmers; and farmers are reaping better returns and helping to revitalize rural and urban communities by selling close to home instead of through distant markets. Local marketing has expanded beyond farmers’ markets and farmstands, although these are still popular and the number of US farmers’ markets is growing rapidly.

Closer to Home: Healthier Food, Farms and Families in Oklahoma

This report is a picture of Oklahoma's food system, seen through the lens of community food security. It is an attempt to answer the question posed at the beginning of this piece: Is Oklahoma food secure? Two years in the making, this groundbreaking report features extensive research and original analysis. It is the first attempt to look at Oklahoma's food system from field to table, the first time that information about agriculture and agricultural markets have been combined with information on nutrition, health and food access into one report.

The Food System: A Potential Future

A starting point for considering a sustainable food system vision is focusing on relationships among activities in communities. If we frame the concept of healthy, livable communities around three access points: (health, environment, and economics) then we can imagine health outcomes from the standpoint of people maintaining a quality standard of life as they mature and age rather than focusing on how we treat diseases. We can imagine environmental outcomes that enhance our natural resource base for future generations, not degradation and restoration.

Chicago: Eat Local, Live Healthy

Chicago: Eat Local, Live Healthy is a City of Chicago strategy to coordinate aspects of the local and regional food industry in ways that enhance public health and create food-related business opportunities. The strategy identifies food issues that, if restructured locally, could improve food quality, lower its cost and increase its availability for consumers. It also presents examples of public- and private-sector cooperation that could provide new employment and sustainable development opportunities.

Making Value Chains Work: Best Practices for Success – Workshop Proceedings

Objectives of the Best Practices Workshop included:
- Making intrinsic knowledge of VCP stakeholders apparent and accessible to others,
- Facilitating problem-solving and profitable successes within VCP-affiliated businesses,
- Promoting sustainability and upward scaling of values-based agricultural supply chains, and
- Showing the effectiveness of the value chain and CoP approaches to problem-solving.

A Vision for Good Food: Linking Community-based Food Systems to Healthy Iowans and Healthy Communities

This disconnection to food production correlates with rising chronic disease
trends and public health disparities. The health of Iowans is reflective of the health of the food system. Changes within our food system are needed to assure all Iowans have access to good food - food that is healthy, green, fair, affordable, and accessible.

Executive Summary of Final Report / National Agricultural Lands Study

In June 1979, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the President's Council on Environmental Quality agreed to sponsor an inter-agency study of the availabiltiy of the nation's agricultural lands, the extent and causes of their conversion to other uses, and ways in which these lands might be retained for agricultural purposes.

This effort, the National Agricultural Lands Study, was charged with:

Determining the nature, rate, extent, and causes of conversion of agricultural land to nonagricultural uses.

Checking the Food Odometer: Comparing Food Miles for Local Versus Conventional Produce Sales to Iowa Institutions

Food miles are the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is ultimately purchased or consumed by the end user. The term food miles has become part of the vernacular among food system professionals when describing the farm to consumer pathways of food. A Weighted Average Source Distance (WASD) can be used to calculate food miles by combining information on the distances from production to point of sale and the amount of food product transported.

Consumer Perceptions of the Safety, Health and Environmental Impact of Various Scales and Geographic Origin of Food Supply Chains

Concerns have increased about the environmental impacts and safety of our food supply in the past several years. This public uneasiness has spurred multiple investigations of where and how food is produced and the corresponding impacts on our environment and climate. In addition, the consumer demand for local food products nationwide has risen.

Farmers' Markets

The number of farmers' markets in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past two decades. This publication is a resource for those who want to organize a farmers' market or to sell at one.

Direct Marketing

This publication on direct marketing alternatives—with emphasis on niche, specialty and value-added crops—features many farm case studies, as well as information on enterprise budgets and promotion/publicity. A new section discusses implications of Internet marketing and e-commerce for agriculture.

Community Supported Agriculture

This publication reports on the history of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the U.S. and discusses the various models that have emerged. Recent trends in the CSA movement are presented and demographic information provided about the distribution of CSA farms in the U.S. Several CSA cases are profiled and a survey of recent research is presented. References and resources follow the narrative

Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions: A Resource Guide for Farm-to-School and Farm-to-Institution Programs

This publication provides farmers, school administrators, and institutional food-service planners with contact information and descriptions of existing programs that have made connections between local farmers and local school lunchrooms, college dining halls, or cafeterias in other institutions.

Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2002

This publication presents the results of the latest (2002) inventory of U.S. major land uses, drawing on data from the Census, public land management and conservation agencies, and other sources. The data are synthesized by State to calculate the use of several broad classes and subclasses of agricultural and nonagricultural land over time. The United States has a total land area of nearly 2.3 billion acres.

Farming in the Urban Shadow: Supporting Agriculture at the Rural-Urban Interface

This brief provides an overview of agriculture in urbanizing parts of the United States. We refer to these areas as the “rural-urban interface” (RUI1) given that they include both urban and rural land. We describe some of the broad trends and developments in commercial farming in these areas, and show how commercial farming is still quite vibrant and dynamic in many RUI counties. Our research suggests that innovative local, state, and national policies can have an important influence on the future of RUI agriculture.

National Farmers Market Summit Proceedings Report

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), in partnership with the Farmers Market Consortium1, hosted the National Farmers Market Summit November 7–9, 2007, in Baltimore, MD. The Summit assembled key stakeholders from the farmers market community to convene a national conversation on issues and challenges facing today’s farmers markets. The National Farmers Market Summit had three broad objectives:

Identify farmers market needs and existing gaps in assistance.

Prioritize future research and technical assistance initiatives.

Community Benefits and Costs of Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements

The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided funding for American Farmland Trust (AFT) to estimate the benefits that a farm could provide a local community in the future when its development rights are purchased. AFT analyzed the financial impacts to communities and individuals that result from protected farmland. Through the use of existing sources of data to generate this information, potential benefits are quantified in a way that taxpayers can understand and appreciate.

Land Trusts and Agricultural Land: Protecting Farmland or Farming?

Agricultural land presents unique challenges and opportunities to the land conservation community. This report explores some of the innovative approaches to farmland protection employed by leading land trusts from across the country. The aim of this report is to help land trusts develop farmland conservation programs that are appropriate to their own regions and circumstances and to encourage the evolution of best practices within the land trust community.

Diet, Energy and Global Warming

The energy consumption of animal- and plant-based diets and, more broadly, the range of energetic planetary footprints spanned by reasonable dietary choices are compared. It is demonstrated that the greenhouse gas emissions of various diets vary by as much as the difference between owning an average sedan versus a sport-utility vehicle under typical driving conditions. The authors conclude with a brief review of the safety of plant-based diets, and find no reasons for concern.

Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market

Everyone, everywhere depends increasingly on long-distance food. Encouraged by food processing innovations, cheap oil, and subsidies, since 1961 the value of global trade in food has tripled and the tonnage of food shipped between nations has grown fourfold, while population has only doubled. In the United States, food typically travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to plate, as much as 25 percent farther than in 1980.

Selling Directly to Restaurants and Retailers

In November, 2002, more than 50 growers, agricultural professionals, and others gathered in the beachside town of Ventura as part of the California Farm Conference, to discuss how to market directly to restaurants and retailers. During a halfday short course led by Kris Pustina, a successful and innovative restaurateur in Ventura, and Mark Mulcahy, well-known marketing consultant, participants discussed the key elements for creating a successful, entrepreneurial relationship with local restaurants and retailers.

Food Miles: Background and Marketing

The term ‘food miles’ refers to the distance food travels from the location where it is grown to the location where it is consumed, or in other words, the distance food travels from farm to plate. Recent studies have shown that this distance has been steadily increasing over the last fifty years. Studies estimate that processed food in the United States travels over 1,300 miles, and fresh produce travels over 1,500 miles, before being consumed.

What We Know About The Demographics of U.S. Farm Operators

Every five years when the census of agriculture results are released new alarms are sounded about the advancing ages of farmers and what it will mean for farm structure and farm succession. Unfortunately, census collections through 1997 provided limited information to shed light on those concerns. This was particularly true since demographic data such as gender, age, race, and Hispanic ethnicity were collected only for the “principal” operator of each farm.


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