Local Food Systems That Work : a National Good Food Network webinar

How can we accelerate learning and increase commerce in Local Food?


Check out our storify for a round up of the ‘Food Systems That Work’ webinar & full links to the recordings & slides, courtesy of the National Good Food Network:



[<a href=”http://storify.com/buckybox/ngfn-webinar-food-systems-networks-that-work-accel” target=”_blank”>View the story “NGFN Webinar Food Systems Networks That Work : Accelerating Learning & Increased Commerce” on Storify</a>]<br /> <h1>NGFN Webinar Food Systems Networks That Work : Accelerating Learning & Increased Commerce</h1> <h2>Bringing together conveners of food system networks of many different sizes: very local (a section of a state), to statewide, regional and even national. Each of these networks has amplified and abetted the positive triple bottom line effects of its member businesses and organizations.</h2> <p>Storified by Bucky Box · Sat, Sep 22 2012 23:47:37</p> <div>Interesting webinar coming up from @NGFN : "Food Systems Networks that Work" http://eepurl.com/pxgEL #foodtechFood+Tech Connect </div> <div>Don’t forget : Food Systems Networks That Work – Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce http://trib.al/TNQVe6 via @NGFN @BuckyEventsBucky Box</div> <div>NGFN Webinars — National Good Food NetworkOur monthly NGFN interactive webinars give you the opportunity to learn and connect with on-the-ground practitioners and experts. Below…</div> <div>Food Systems Networks that Work – the "how" and "why" of food systems networking NGFN Webinar TODAY! 3:30 ET, 12:30PT https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/853715690Natl Good Food Netwk</div> <div>Buckybox</div> <div>We’ll be tweeting live from our new Events-based Twitter feed today – @BuckyEvents!</div> <div>We’re ready & waiting for the @ngfn Webinar ‘Food Systems That Work’ – hope to see you there! http://bit.ly/PYhBEE #NGFNwebinar #FoodSystemBucky Box</div> <div>And we’re off! The @ngfn ‘Food Systems That Work’ webinar is up & running – Rich Pirog from @MichiganStateEU http://yfrog.com/hsy2bfpBucky Box Events</div> <div>A big welcome to the panelists for today:<br><b>Rich Pirog</b> (Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University), <b>Corry Bregendahl</b> (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture), <b>Marty Gerencer</b> (Morse Communications) & <b>Karen Lehman</b> (Fresh Taste).</div> <div>The very knowledgeable panel of the #NGFNwebinar today. Q&A yielding some interesting insights – thanks @ngfn! http://yfrog.com/hwxxgepBucky Box Events</div> <div>"Value of Networks: Info & Knowledge Hubs, Catalysts for Cooperation, Leverage Funding, Cutting edge of Ideas & Innovation" #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>"What’s in your network?" – would you describe it as Cooperative, Coordinating or Collaborative? #NGFNwebinar http://yfrog.com/oduo5gpBucky Box Events</div> <div>Great stories about Food & Fitness program in Iowa – Corry Bregendahl (Leopold Centre for Sustainable Ag) http://bit.ly/PEmH7d #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>Solid Social, Health, Economic & Environmental outcomes from the Food & Fitness Program in #Iowa – #winwin – #NGFNWebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>Great Lakes Food Hub Network began as a learning group; small parts, loosely joined http://bit.ly/PYtOcq #FoodHub #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>Check out more about #FoodHubs at @ngfn’s online centre: http://bit.ly/PYuy1m #NGFNwebinar #collaborationBucky Box Events</div> <div>Food Hub Center – National Good Food NetworkA regional food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified…</div> <div>Much of the discussion about Networks That Work relates well to our vision of Sustainable Food System http://bit.ly/PYvfrB #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>Sustainable Food Summit – Vision of a Future Food System | The Bucky Box BlogThis blog was republished in part on Food+Tech Connect as ‘How Technology will decentralise the global food system’ and Sustaination’s "3…</div> <div>Great! Tackling Sustainability of Networks: Pork producers do % of sales to Network, is something similar poss for Fruit & Veg? #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>"You cannot legislate an ethic of sharing" – Great Lakes Food Hub began with trust & social capital, + some Vermont inspiration #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>GLFH also had inspiration from #Mondragon, Co-ops, & ‘Town that food saved’ http://bit.ly/PYxgUx #NGFNwebinar #collaboration #localfoodBucky Box Events</div> <div>IntroductionIntroduction</div> <div>Learning is central to the idea of network building. Karen Lehman suggests using #openspace to build commitment & co-creativity #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>Using #OpenSpace to run a collaborative meeting; links here: http://bit.ly/3Zu422 also check out emerging @CollabCafe #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>Open Space TechnologyOpen Space Technology In my experience open space is based on the belief that we humans are intelligent, creative, adaptive, meaning- and…</div> <div>#NGFNwebinar : 2 different approaches to Communications & Network building: 1) Almost fully offline, 2) Using webinars & some socialBucky Box Events</div> <div>We’ve got a #socialmedia for Local Food guide for you http://trib.al/KiyvYY #helpguideBucky Box</div> <div>TY @ngfn for the #FoodSystems webinar – some nuggets of interest there, lets keep the conversation going online! Suggest a #? #NGFNwebinarBucky Box Events</div> <div>#NGFNwebinar Lots of great info about food system networks that work!Bakari McC</div> <div><b>You can now find the fill slides, video & webinar details here:</b></div> <div>Food Systems Networks That Work – Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce – National Good Food NetworkWe bring together conveners of food systems networks of many different sizes. Each has amplified and abetted the positive triple bottom l…</div> <div>Food Systems Networks That Work – Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce – an NGFN webinarwallacecenter</div> <div>Follow future events here:</div> <div>NGFN Webinars — National Good Food NetworkOur monthly NGFN interactive webinars give you the opportunity to learn and connect with on-the-ground practitioners and experts. Below…</div>

Top 5 ways to find more customers : an overview of local food marketing guides

Have you ever wondered ‘how & where will I get more customers?’


We’ve been asked the question a fair bit recently by people & organisations around the world who are distributing food locally.  What with tough harvests in the UK, the supermarket price wars in Australia, the food stores the size of small towns in the US, austerity measures in Europe, and the gradual rising awareness of the benefits of local food in New Zealand – it can be tough to find new customers.


We decided to pull together our own e-book on this topic, but in the meantime, here’s a couple of sites which could be useful to get you started.

  1. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) – as part of the ‘Be A Local Hero’ program, have developed a Marketing 101 for farmers and local food distributors. You’ll find a link to a PDF download – it’s a fairly in-depth guide to everything from establishing a brand, to working out new channels for your business.
  2. Making Local Food Work – a series of guides & toolkits for a wide variety of local food distribution models, developed to help you get started & get ahead.
  3. National Good Food Network – a database of research into business & finance behind local food distribution & farming.
  4. Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture – a solid guide for small farmers and distributors as to why & how to market locally.
  5. Lean Marketing – taking a somewhat different approach to marketing, this blog post advocates lean marketing – staying away from heavyweight strategic planning, testing ideas in small batches, and learning quickly.


Social Enterprise London (SEL) – many local food distributors are looking for triple-bottom line impact, and could benefit from the great resources that SEL create. Whilst not specifically focused on local food, they do have some good guides to smaller, more impactful business.


If you’re particularly interested in the USDA Marketing Manual – we’ve also uploaded here: USDA Marketing Manual 2012


We’d love to hear your thoughts & feedback on what’s worked and what’s not, to help build a guide for local food to build the movement around the world.  You can tweet us at @buckybox, or get in touch through Facebook.

Sustainable Agriculture – Resources & Courses

We just received an awesome email through the COMFOOD listserv at Tufts University, so we thought we would share it with you all. Big thanks to MOSES team for putting this together.

It’s an outline of the premiere Sustainable Agriculture resources & courses in the US at the moment.  It’s a window into the Production & Distribution sector of our food system – one that is crying out for more farmers with a focus on sustainable land use practices.  So, if you’re thinking of going back to school, getting a crash course online, or delving deeper into what sustainable agriculture looks like in c21st – here’s your guide. You can also find out more about existing resources in our Tips & Tricks for Local Food distribution here.


Agro-Ecology & Sustainable Ag. Program (ASAP)
U of I Urbana-Champaign, W503 Turner Hall, MC-047, 1102 S Goodwin Ave   Urbana, IL
217-333-9471 fax 217-244-3219
mwander@illinois.edu   www.asap.sustainability.uiuc.edu
Facilitates and promotes research and education which protects Illinois natural and human resources and sustains agricultural production.

Black Hawk College
26230 Black Hawk Road   Galva, IL
309-854-1722 fax 309-856-5601
Hawesj@bhc.edu   blackhawkorganics.blogspot.com/
Exploring the use of sound agricultural practices to produce and market alternative agricultural crops. Offers courses and operates a four acre production program that follows USDA organic certification guidelines through certifying agent, Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA).

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
1535 Observatory Drive   Madison, WI
608-262-8018 fax 608-265-3020
cecarusi@wisc.edu   www.cias.wisc.edu
A sustainable agriculture research center at UW-Madison that brings together farmers, researchers, and policy makers to study farming practices and profitability.

Indian Hills Community College
721 N First Street   Centerville, IA
641-856-2143 fax 641-856-3158
bkaster@indianhills.edu   www.indianhills.edu
This program is designed to provide area landowners, farmers, and young adults with access to land the entrepreneurial skills necessary to start a new or further develop an existing land-based business, and/or gain employment in an agriculturally related field.

Iowa State University, Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture (GPSA)
253 Bessey Hall   Ames, IA
515-294-6518 fax 515-294-1337
gpsa@iastate.edu   www.sust.ag.iastate.edu/gpsa/
The first program to offer the MS and PhD in sustainable agriculture, the GPSA emphasizes experiential learning through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students acquire depth of knowledge as well as systems-level thinking while pursuing advanced research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Iowa State University, Dept of Agronomy
1126J Agronomy Hall   Ames, IA
515-294-3846 fax 515-294-8146
miller@iastate.edu   www.ImAnAgronomist.net
Agronomy at ISU is dedicated to maintaining a systems approach to agriculture. Our undergraduate program in Agronomy includes an Agroecology option that has been of high interest to students who want to study organic and sustainable agriculture.

Iowa State University, Organic Ag Program
106 Horticulture Hall   Ames, IA
515-294-7069 fax 515-294-0730
kdelate@iastate.edu   extension.agron.iastate.edu/organicag/
Dr. Delate’s position in ISU Extension is devoted to organic agriculture. ISU Extension also offers fact sheets and other materials on sustainable agriculture.

Lake Land College
5001 Lake Land Blvd   Mattoon, IL
217-234-5569 fax 217-234-5200
dbarkley@lakeland.cc.il.us   www.lakeland.cc.il.us
This program is designed for students planning a career in alternative agriculture production. Emphasis on the fundamentals of agroecology, incorporation of biological pest management, and sustainable crop and livestock production along with the concepts of direct marketing.

Maharishi University of Management, Sustainable Living Dept
Dr Keith Wallace Drive   Fairfield, IA
641-472-7000 x 1109 fax 641-472-1235
A rapidly expanding sustainable living undergraduate program gives students understanding and skills to develop sustainable systems and communities to create a more sustainable world. Courses cover policy, renewable energy, ecology, organic and community supported agriculture, and green design and building, etc.

Marshalltown Community College – Entrepreneurial & Diversified Agriculture Program
3700 S. Center Street   Marshalltown, IA
linda.barnes@iavalley.edu   www.iavalley.edu/mcc/about/programs-degrees/EntrepreneurialandDiversifiedAg.html
This program offers one year certificates and two year degrees. Included on campus is a 140 acre farm used for demonstration to students and new farmers who wish to begin farming on site.

Michigan State University Extension
303 Natural Resources CAARS   East Lansing, MI
517-353-3543 fax 517-353-3834
sorrone@msu.edu   www.michiganorganic.msu.edu
The C.S. Mott Group at MSU engages communities in applied research and outreach that promote sustainable food systems to improve access to and availability of healthy, locally-produced food. There is a focus on organic farming approaches for vegetables and field crops.

Michigan State University W.K. Kellogg Biological Station
3700 E Gull Lake Drive   Hickory Corners, MI
269-671-2341 fax 269-671-2351
Director@kbs.msu.edu   www.kbs.msu.edu
Year-round biological field station conducting research on the ecology of managed and unmanaged systems that supports educational and extension/outreach programs, including sustainable agricultural practices for row-crop production (conventional and organic), cover crops, grazed pastures, and biofuels.

Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA)
1991 Upper Buford Circle   St Paul, MN
612-625-8235 fax 612-625-1268
misamail@umn.edu   www.misa.umn.edu
Bringing together the diverse interests of the agricultural community and the University to promote sustainable agriculture.

North Dakota State University – Carrington Research Extension Center
PO Box 219   Carrington, ND
701-652-2951 fax 701-652-2055
vern.anderson@ndsu.edu   www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu
Researches crop and animal ecosystems to help family farms maintain profitability. Specializing in ruminants and all crop production.

North Dakota State University – Dickinson Research Extension Center
1041 State Avenue   Dickinson, ND
701-483-2348 ext. 113 fax 701-483-2073
SARE state coordinator for both North and South Dakotas.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
2740 W Mason St, PO Box 19042   Green Bay, WI
valerie.dantoin@nwtc.edu   www.nwtc.edu
Offers accredited, on-line and in-person courses to gain skills in organic agriculture. Courses were developed through process that includes expert farmers working in organics. The courses take you through step-by-step learning with printed materials, short lectures, media, demos, and classroom discussion.

University of California – Santa Cruz – Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
1156 High Street   Santa Cruz, CA
831-459-3240 fax 831-459-2799
apprenticeship@ucsc.edu   casfs.ucsc.edu
A six-month, full time education program held at the 25-acre Farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Course includes classroom instruction, in-field training, and hands-on experience in the gardens, greenhouses, orchards, fields, and marketing outlets.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Crop Sciences
1201 W Gregory Dr   Urbana, IL
217-621-7974 fax 217-333-4582
aslan@illinois.edu   asap.sustainability.uiuc.edu/org-ag
Developing research and outreach programs on cover cropping, weed management in organic farming systems. Coordinating on-farm research, organic farm tours.

University of Minnesota-Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC)
23669 130th St   Lamberton, MN
507-752-7372 fax 507-752-5097
riddl003@umn.edu   organicecology.umn.edu
The U of MN’s Organic Ecology Program explores the science of organic agriculture through on-farm and experiment station research; variety trials; organic field days; workshops; publications; and the Organic Ecology website.

University of Minnesota, Applied Plant Sciences Graduate Program
1991 Upper Buford Circle   St. Paul, MN
612-625-4742 fax 612-625-1268
apsc@umn.edu   www.appliedplantsciences.umn.edu/
Biological solutions to real-world problems come to life in the Applied Plant Sciences graduate program. We offer Undergraduate, Minor, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in one or more of the following specializations: Sustainable Agriculture; Agronomy/Agroecology; Horticultural Science; Plant Breeding/Molecular Genetics; Applied Plant Sciences.

University of Wisconsin – Madison, Agroecology Program
1525 Observatory Dr   Madison, WI
caelholm@wisc.edu   www.agroecology.wisc.edu
We seek to foster the development of the facilitators, researchers, and practitioners of a more equitable and resource-efficient agriculture. Our curriculum addresses agriculture as the simultaneously biophysical and social enterprise that it is.

University of Wisconsin – River Falls, Plant & Earth Science Dept
410 S 3rd St   River Falls, WI
715-425-3941 fax 715-425-3785
william.anderson@uwrf.edu   www.uwrf.edu
UWRF’s Sustainable Agriculture option within the Crop and Soil Science major promotes land productivity, environmental stewardship, economic practicality and rural community viability. Two relevant minors are now available to students as well: Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Studies.


University of Minnesota Duluth – Continuing Education
104 Darland Administration Bldg, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812-3011
cehelp@d.umn.edu   www.d.umn.edu
The Sustainable Food Systems certificate is self paced and equivalent to 50 hours. This includes the time it takes to read, view and apply the concepts through the activities provided in each module. If you register for the certificate you will have access to the website for one year after registration. If you register for individual modules, you will have access for six months. If you are unable to complete the certificate / modules within these timeframes, your access will be cancelled and you must re-register if you wish to continue.

Production, Distribution & Waste – Challenging Industrial Agriculture


Recently we’ve heard the same old arguments being pumped out by industrial agriculture, especially in reaction to the droughts in the US.


The argument goes: “There’s almost 7 billion people on Earth, and there’s 1 billion hungry. We need more food to feed the world. We must intensify agriculture; bigger & better, and we’ve got the answer – we call it a Sustainable Agriculture”.  That ‘Sustainable Agriculture future’ is typically large-scale intensive agriculture, GMO, and more sophisticated ‘scientific’ farming methods.  Inevitably the cost of this agriculture is greater, and farmers must have all of the latest information, tools, machinery & chemicals to make it happen.  It also, coincidentally, means greater profits for the big boys of industrial agriculture (rather than farmers).


There’s an assumption in there that needs testing: “We need more food to feed the world”.  It’s so often taken as a given, but there significant research which suggests otherwise.


We grow enough food to feed 10 billion people already. Eric Holt-Giménez recently wrote a fantastic rebuttal of the industrial agriculture view on the future of food. The first part of his argument centres around the point that Hunger is not caused by scarcity, but by poverty – that is what needs to be tackled to feed the hungry people in the world, not more food.  It follows on to show that Industrial Ag Vs Natural Farming does not represent the gaps in yields that are constantly talked about by GMO advocates. The longest running study (Rodale Institute – 47 year study) shows that Organic farming has better yields & profits, whilst requiring lower energy inputs & causing lower greenhouse gas outputs.


We Already Grow Enough Food - Infographic - Challenging Industrial Agriculture


The UN have put out several studies on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture which do not support the Industrial Ag spin. They don’t stand to create vast profits from their view, but they do expect to see greater advances in sustainable development & poverty alleviation through more agriculture shifting to small-scale agroecological production. There also are gains in climate resilience and energy reduction from adopting farming based on ecological systems.


A 2011 report on Food Waste by the Food & Agriculture Organisation (PDF) suggests 1/3 of global food production is wasted through the supply chain or pre/post consumption. This food waste infographic featured on Food+Tech Connect supports this argument, showing it’s as high as 40% in the US.


It’s clear to see there’s significant work that needs to be addressed on the Consumer side of things, but this also supports our assertion that a big change needs to happen upstream.  If food distribution were to change from the centralised, industrial model that accounts for 99% of our food system, to local food webs, then we have the opportunity to disrupt the food waste in this area of the chain too.


The world has changed since our food system was invented – the information & web revolution has made new things possible – aggregation of supply & demand through web-based tools is just one of them.  We built Bucky Box for many reasons, one of which indicates the potential for decentralised food systems & local food webs to be more efficient than Industrialised Ag.  By re-localising food distribution with these new tools, we can efficiently move food from farm to fork with minimal wastage, instead of farm to landfill.


The time has come for a revolution in our food system.  It may be a quiet revolution which sees individuals consciously choosing to buy local, for small-scale farming to make a wholesale return, and for more-than-profit food distribution to rise, powered by a wave of digital tools for a better food system.