Format: Innovation Briefs

National Association Of State Departments Of Agriculture Foundation

State departments of agriculture are working with federal agencies, corporations, and nonprofits to purchase food surpluses from farmers to distribute at food banks. This brief explores the unique strategies and partnerships four state departments of agriculture have used to develop and administer these purchasing programs….

National Farm To School Network

Farm to school activities support local agriculture, while also providing nutrition and agriculture education. Special events, like Apple Crunch days, offer an opportunity for students to learn about local produce in a fun, engaging way with their friends and school communities. Typically, Apple Crunch events happen during the school day and involve field trips, taste tests, and biting into local apples. Since many schools are operating virtually, due to the pandemic, and meal programs…

Farmers Market Coalition

During 2020, FRESHFARM, an organization that manages farmers markets in the Washington, D.C., area, piloted a relatively low-cost device that counts the number of pings from mobile phones as they connect with a Wi-Fi network. This technology does not reveal any of the phone owner’s identifying information, nor does it collect data from phones. Instead, these counts provide a way for farmers market managers to estimate the number of visitors and their length of…

Farm to Institution New England

This brief highlights how healthcare facilities implemented and expanded local food initiatives during the pandemic as a means to effectively feed and care for healthcare constituents while also investing in the local food economy. Specifically, by leveraging existing partnerships and value chains, healthcare organizations moved quickly to serve their stakeholders through onsite retail (e.g. grocery) locations and expanded community supported agriculture (CSA) or produce subscription programs while continuing to support local food producers whose…

LEE Initiative

To maintain these relationships, and to create the foundation for a more resilient restaurant industry, the LEE Initiative provided stipends to local farms in 20 regions across the U.S. to ensure continued food production for restaurants. These farmers were then given a list of selected independent restaurants that could purchase farm products on credit provided by the program. This allowed restaurants to lower ingredient costs while still acquiring local products, providing high-quality food to…

Wallace Center At Winrock International

Many hubs took elements of a Community Supported Agriculture model- which guarantees a market for farmers, provides customers a food box on a regular schedule, and strives to match the needs of farmers and growers. Local food hubs, even those that didn’t run CSAs, were able to collarborate with partners and use these models to manage this massive market shift. Hubs also had the advantage of highly developed logistics and last-mile delivery….

WSU Bread Lab

Regional small grain value chains link local farmers, regional mills, and artisan bakers to consumers looking to support local food systems. Through the rise in popularity of artisan baking and craft brewing, the sector has enjoyed significant growth in the past decade. Identifying as ‘non-commodity’, these value chains prioritize diversified and regionalized markets, high quality grains, long term relationships between stakeholders, fair pricing, and skilled labor. The result is fresh, stone-milled specialty grain products…
Students at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy launched the Friedman Food Systems COVID-19 Connector (“Connector”), a service learning program utilizing an online platform to match organizations seeking technical assistance in their responses to COVID-19 to Tufts students with corresponding skills and interests….

Local Catch Network (University of Maine)

There are a lot of different types of tourism “trails,” from vineyards to bird watching hotspots. Oyster Trails are an emerging concept that combine food, agritourism, and shellfish farming. These trails have existed in the United States since at least the early 2000s, but have proliferated in recent years. Each Oyster Trail is unique, but most can be distinguished by two common features. First, does the Oyster Trail define routes or is it set…

FRESHFARM

Farmers market managers have significant constraints on their time and resources.  The Market Tracker is a Google Sheets database that FRESHFARM uses to collect sales data at the farmers markets that it manages.  The Market Tracker can help farmers markets managers collect market data in a standardized way.  FRESHFARM has helped other farmers markets use the Market Tracker, and is willing to help others. This document will assist other farmers market managers assess whether the Market Tracker could be valuable…

CSA Innovation Network

CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Fairs, events where farmers hold meet-and-greets with potential customers for the upcoming CSA season, largely came to a halt this spring due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. In response, many farmers and organizations transitioned into online events featuring Facebook sharing of farm stories and farmer meet-and-greets via Zoom. This Innovation Brief highlights the positive outcomes of this unexpected pivot and the ways in which these platforms will be used in…
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