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A Regional Imperative: Making the Case for Regional Food Systems
January 26, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Join us on January 26th (1-2:30pm ET) when the authors of A Regional Imperative: Making the Case for Regional Food Systems will present the key concepts of the report, along with examples from the field. Ruhf and Clancy will distill the material into digestible “take-aways” for food system practitioners, educators, policymakers, funders, researchers and advocates. More info can be found here!
Although the term “regional food system” is used more frequently these days, regional food systems are inadequately understood and valued. A Regional Imperative: Making the Case for Regional Food Systems, a new Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) report by Kathy Ruhf and Kate Clancy, takes a comprehensive look at regional food systems and makes a compelling case for their importance in food systems change work. Clancy and Ruhf are not new to this topic. This report greatly expands their 2010 NESAWG working paper: It Takes a Region. As two of NESAWG’s founders, they have championed regionalism and regional food systems as core to NESAWG’s work for over three decades.
Are you an advocate or funder of regional food systems? Do you want to know more about RFS and “thinking regionally”?
Join us on January 26th when the authors will present the key concepts of the report, along with examples from the field. Ruhf and Clancy will distill the material into digestible “take-aways” for food system practitioners, educators, policymakers, funders, researchers and advocates.
More About A Regional Imperative
This new report explores the concepts, practices, challenges and promise of regional food systems. It focuses on the Northeast U.S., a laboratory of regional food systems thinking and action, but it also describes regional food systems development across the country. The report contains dozens of examples of region-scale endeavors.
Clancy and Ruhf argue that “local” and “regional” are different and that both are essential. In confusing or conflating the terms, both lose their power and potential to achieve real change. They make the case for “thinking regionally;” that geography and scale are foundational considerations for food systems change. The report posits six regional food system dimensions and nine attributes, with resilience, diversity and sustainability as overarching themes. It lifts up issue areas that were not sufficiently addressed in the earlier paper. These include climate change, race, equity and social justice, economic development, and supply chain infrastructures. It looks at the contributions of urban agriculture, fisheries and trade, among many other aspects of regional food system development.
Over the three years writing the report, Ruhf and Clancy were heartened to discover more and more research on regional food systems, and new examples of “regional thinking” in the field. Eight chapters take a wide perspective on regional food systems, from production capacity to federal grant programs to supply chain business models; from land access to food security to procurement. They also focus in on governance and public engagement. One chapter explores the challenges and constraints to developing regional food systems, and another suggests what is needed to move toward more resilient regional food systems.