We believe . . .
1. We have the people, land and climate needed to produce fresh, affordable, and healthy food.
2. Our growing community of producers and consumers can create strong local food systems, reduce use of fossil fuels, and create businesses and jobs.
3. Vibrant local and regional agriculture generates wealth in communities, establishes healthy environments for families, and enhances quality of life for all.
Our goal . . .
To move as quickly as possible from a group of individuals using on line tools for information sharing and communication to an active collaboration building strong local and regional economies and business ecosystems. Local and regional food systems are both an immediate goal and a springboard to further action.
Our history . . .
The Agroecosystems Management Program of the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center organized a local food systems infrastructure workshop held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture on February 29, 2008. The workshop brought together key participants from throughout the Ohio food system for the first time, and generated tremendous energy and excitement about working together on the distribution infrastructure for local food systems in Ohio. This social networking website, the localfoodssystems.org was launched during this workshop as a way to keep the approximately 90 workshop participants connected, communicating, and productive. The site has since tripled in the number of subscribers and more than doubled in the number of working groups around such topics as value added processing, marketing, local procurement for food service companies and schools, and urban food access. More . .. The approximately $10K investment in the workshop and networking site led within six months to a $2.2 million ($1.1 million federal funds matched by $1.1 million in state and industry funds) Regional Partnerships for Innovation grant to OARDC through the USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative. This grant provides the resources needed to focus on strengthening networking capacity and honing collaborative skills to prompt market expansion, technology commercialization, and business growth through local food systems that produce and deliver specialty crops in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.