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Tool BoxLocal Foods Systems

Localization strategies often characterize sustainability efforts. And nothing is more central to our lives than the food that we eat. Building a local sustainable food economy has implications related to local spending choices, nutrition and health, developing strong linkages between rural and urban areas, creating local jobs, restoring the land, and regenerating community. Learn about this rapidly growing sustainability strategy—through examples and best practices—and how it's helping to reshape our food system and our communities. This section will include links to information about local food systems.

For additional information regarding Local Foods Systems, contact Sustainability Team member:
  • Wisconsin Local Food Network
    Creating Statewide connections for learning from the experiences of Wisconsin local food initiatives and to foster learning for local and regional action through networking and dialogue.

  • Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's "Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin" Grant Program
    The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin (BLBW) grant program invites proposals for projects that are likely to stimulate Wisconsin's agricultural economy by increasing the purchasing of Wisconsin grown or produced food by local food buyers. Proposals will be accepted from individuals, groups, businesses and organizations involved in Wisconsin agriculture production, Wisconsin agriculture tourism, Wisconsin retail food establishments or Wisconsin food processing, distribution or warehousing.

  • Community Food Systems Team
    Community Food Systems Team supports and enhances Cooperative Extension’s research mission and capacity to work with community food systems in an integrated, systemic, and coordinated manner, spanning across all program areas within Extension as well as with external stakeholders.

  • Food and Value Added Agriculture Resources
    Originally developed by the Agricultural Innovation Center through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension. The work of the Center is now part of the Center for Community & Economic Development. It works towards increasing the supply and visibility of Wisconsin farms and food products by providing resources for entrepreneurs and educators as well as information about active programs. These programs focus on increasing the market for wholesale and retail local foods in grocery stores and institutions as well as farmer’s markets, restaurants and community kitchens

  • Food Systems Data Sites
    County food systems profiles and indicator maps on a variety of indicators for Wisconsin and twelve Midwest states.

  • Food Security
    View and map food security data for Wisconsin from eth school district to state level. Both sites include additional food systems resource lists.

  • Planning an Event – Consider Serving Local Food
    A publication on serving local foods at conferences and workshops has been developed and is now available on the UW-Ext The Learning Store Publications web site.

  • Farm Fresh Atlases of Wisconsin
    A gateway to the farm fresh atlases across Wisconsin. Each regional Atlas is produced independently by grassroots coalitions including nonprofit organizations, farmers, farmers' markets, UW-Extension, Resource Conservation and Development District offices (RC&Ds) and University of Wisconsin campuses.

  • The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
    The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture explores and cultivates alternatives that secure healthier people and landscapes in Iowa and the nation.

  • Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service
    The MOSES mission is to help agriculture make the transition to a sustainable organic system of farming that is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just, through information, education, research, and integrating the broader community into this effort.

  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
    ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. It provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States.

  • The New Farm
    The Rodale Institute®, a global leader in regenerative agriculture, is devoted to innovative agriculture research, outreach and training through The New Farm® programs. At, the mission is to inform, encourage, equip and inspire farmers with the support needed to take the important transition steps toward regenerative agriculture.

    An online directory and resource for consumers across the world to find food and agricultural products and services from the state of Wisconsin.

  • Know Your Farmer Know Your Food
    A USDA web site focused on local foods and food infrastructure, farm to institution programs, access to healthy food, careers in agriculture, stewardship and local foods, case studies and funding sources. An interactive map lets users find USDA funded projects between 2009 – 2011.

  • Regional Food Hub Resource Guide
    Regional Food Hub Resource Guide: Food hub Impacts on Regional Food Systems, and the Resources Available to Support their Growth and Development is 92-page document, available for free download at the web site above. It was published by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service in April 2012. The report focuses on issues related to Regional Food Hubs, which it defines as "a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand."

  • Real Time Farms – Know Where your Food Comes From
    By typing in a zip code and specifying food preferences (No GMOs, Organic) in the form, a map of farmers, farmers markets, and restaurants that meet the criteria criteria is displayed.

  • Food Environmental Atlas
    This is a USDA website that visually shows access and proximity to grocery stores, store availability, restaurant availability and expenditures, food assistance and food insecurity for counties in each of the 50 states. The objectives of the Atlas are to assemble statistics on food environment indicators to stimulate research on the determinants of food choices and diet quality, and to provide a spatial overview of a community's ability to access healthy food and its success in doing so.

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