by Marion Nestle
Feb 18 2022

Weekend reading: Regional food systems (comments requested)

The Thomas A. Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems has just issued a new report: A Regional Imperative: The Case for Regional Food Systems.

The Executive Summary

In food systems, ‘regional’ is larger geographically than ‘local,’ and also larger in terms of
functions: volume, variety, supply chains, markets, food needs, land use, governance, and
policy. A regional food system operates at various scales and geographies toward greater selfreliance. Thinking regionally provides the opportunity to frame food production, needs, and
economies in a larger context—within locales and regions, and across state borders, as well as
among and across regions, however they may be described and bounded.

The full report (discussion version, 254 pages)

This has a long list of requirements for regional food systems, among them:

  • Provide more affordable, appropriate, good food options to mainstream markets.
  • Encourage decentralization in markets, infrastructure, and governance.
  • Build regionally relevant solutions around equity, justice, and stewardship.
  • Develop new institutions and forms of governance.

This is one comprehensive report.  It covers definitions, history, what needs to be considered in developing a regional food system, constraints and challenges, references, and even an evaluation checklist.

This release of the report is a “discussion version,” on which authors Kathryn Z. Ruhf and Kate Clancy welcome comments pertaining to its treatment of race and racial equity in regional food systems. A final version will be released after a review team has integrated input into the report….Please contact the authors to share feedback:

Kathy Ruhf:

Kate Clancy: