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Growing Local Food Systems: A Case Study Series on the Role of Local Governments

This report features four case studies highlighting various forms of local government support for food systems in Catawba County, NC; Decatur, GA; Topsham, ME and Washtenaw County-Ann Arbor, MI. Lessons learned may be helpful to those interested in working within or with their local governments on marketing, coordination, policy and funding for food system activities.

Connecting Farmers and Nutrition Program Participants: innovations rom Michigan and Kentucky

The presentations in this session from American Farmland Trust's Farmland, Food and Livable Communities Conference discuss the exciting work being done In both rural and urban communities around the country to connect federal nutrition program participants directly with local farmers. These efforts boost farm sales, keep food dollars circulating in local economies and improve low-income consumers' access to healthful food.

The Land Connection

The Land Connection trains farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques; informs the public about the sources of our food and why that matters; and works to protect and enhance farmland so that we, and generations to come, will have clean air and water, fertile soil, and healthy, delicious food.

The Land Connection’s classified section is a place to help find a farmer for your land, or find farmland to launch your farm business. This section can also help you find a mentor or intern. 

The Role of Trees in Protecting Water Quality on Old Mission Peninsula

Over the last several years, natural resource researchers and managers are using new computer modeling tools to understand the role that protecting tree canopy plays in protecting water quality. What they have found is that trees and the canopy that their leaves create are important to protecting water quality, even if the trees are not next to a lake, river or stream.  Trees and forests serve watersheds by preventing erosion, filtering contaminants before they enter a waterway, absorbing rainfall and snow melt, recharging aquifers, and slowing storm water runoff.  

Land Link-Up

The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service offers Land Link-Up, an online list where those seeking land to farm and farmland owners can post descriptions of farmland sought and of farmland for rent/sale along with contact information.

Local Government Support for Food System Development: Highlights from 2012 National Survey

In 2012, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) conducted a comprehensive national survey on local governments’ food-related activities. The survey captured the presence of foodrelated policies and programs, and various funding sources, plans, partnerships and coordination efforts supporting them. The responses from nearly 2,000 municipalities and counties provide insight into how local governments understand and engage with local and regional food systems.

The C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU

The C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU began in January 2003 as a vehicle to promote community engagement and scholarly activity focused on community-based food systems. The C.S. Mott Group seeks to help those working to bring fresh food to limited resource families or maintain your family farm; considering a move to pasture-based farming or investigating a way to enter farming; starting a farmers’ market or looking to add local food to your school lunch program; interested in sustainable agriculture or puzzling about ways food is part of community.

See the Local Difference: Regional Food Systems Become Essential Ingredient for Michigan's Future

This special report, See the Local Difference, provides a tour of the emerging good food system in Michigan: How it is taking shape, what it contributes, and how local and state leaders can pitch in to both accelerate and make the most of it.

Part I covers the economic opportunities that flow from supporting and advancing local and regional food systems. Part II provides a map of the programs and policies on the pathway leading to good food and a more durable prosperity for Michigan.

The Regional Economic Development Potential and Constraints in Local Foods Development in the Midwest

There are no standard definitions of what constitutes "local" food amidst a burgeoning local food promotion and policy-development movement. Nonetheless, government policies are rapidly evolving to promote local food production. For most states, anything produced or processed in-state is considered local. In other instances, a 250 or even a 500 mile perimeter constitutes an acceptable boundary justifying a local food territory for policy making purposes or purchasing preferences.

The Michigan Good Food Charter

The Michigan Good Food Charter presents a vision for Michigan’s food and agriculture system to advance its current contribution to the economy, protect our natural resource base, improve residents’ health and help generations of Michigan youth to thrive. The charter outlines a sequence of steps to take over the next decade to move toward these goals.

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

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the Midwest United States: A Regional Characterization

For the past 20 years, we have heard a great deal about Community Supported Agriculture as a novel marketing and community-building concept. The accepted history of Community Supported Agriculture in the United States is that Jan VanderTuin brought the concept from Switzerland in 1984. CSA projects had been sprouting up there and in other parts of Europe since the 1960s. Such enterprises also were found in Japan in the 1960s when women’s neighborhood groups began approaching farmers to develop direct, cooperative relationships between producers and consumers, known as ‘teikei.’

Michigan On-farm Demonstration and Research Project

Environmental issues are a major concern for U.S. agricultural producers. All across the country, farmers are taking inventory of their operations in an effort to identify and correct farming practices that have the potential to degrade land and water resources. The desire to farm more responsibly has caused a revolution of sorts in many agricultural communities, with farmers adopting environmentally friendly techniques at an unprecedented rate. This trend toward a renewed environmental responsibility is commonly referred to as sustainable agriculture.

The Michigan Farmland Preservation Program: An Evaluation

Michigan's Public Act 116 was the first program to use income tax credits in conjunction with restrictive agreements in an attempt to retain agricultural land and provide farmers with needed tax relief. Questions have been raised about whether the program, now in its fifth year (1979), has met the protection objective. A preliminary analysis of participants by township and county indicates that enrollment under P.A. 116 has occurred primarily in rural areas that are not affected much by demographic and urban factors.

Forging New Protections: Purchasing Development Rights to Save Farmland

Farmland protection programs start with a good idea, but how do they become reality? This report documents how farmers and other citizens in Peninsula Township, Michigan, designed and built support for a purchase of agricultural conservation easement program. Includes information on PACE, details on the design of Peninsula Township's program and sample documents.


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