The Next Food Systems Agenda: A Western Grassroots Perspective


  • V. Philip Rasmussen Western SARE Center
  • Stacie Clary Western SARE Center
  • Al Kurki Western SARE Center
  • Ron Daines Western SARE Center



Beginning Farmers, Consumer Education, Funding, Infrastructure Development, Policy, Processing, Regulation, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Value-Added


The national United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program cele-brates its twenty-fifth year of operation in 2013. At this critical juncture, the Western SARE Center is now addressing what it considers to be key food systems development priorities in the years ahead. They include:

  • Gaps in and lack of infrastructure development;
  • Consumer education on the benefits and preparation of sustainable, locally grown foods;
  • Changes in policy, regulations, institutional purchasing, and financing that are more supportive of and a catalyst for local food system development; and
  • Training for beginning farmers and ranchers.

     In this research commentary, we share how Western SARE arrived at these priorities, based on extensive grassroots input. Further, we outline to what extent these priorities may be a part of a larger, longer-term research agenda in food systems.


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Author Biographies

V. Philip Rasmussen, Western SARE Center

Director, Western SARE Center; Utah State University; 4865 Old Main Hill; Logan, Utah 84322-4865 USA; +1-435-797- 2257.

Stacie Clary, Western SARE Center

Communications Specialist, Western SARE Center; 706 Gilroy Drive; Capitola, California 95010 USA;

Al Kurki, Western SARE Center

PDP Program Associate Training Coordinator; 432 North Last Chance Gulch; Helena, Montana 59601 USA; 406-494-8655.

Ron Daines, Western SARE Center

Former Communications Specialist, Western SARE Center; 40 Heritage Cove; Logan, Utah 84321 USA; +1-435-770-3063.



How to Cite

Rasmussen, V. P., Clary, S., Kurki, A., & Daines, R. (2013). The Next Food Systems Agenda: A Western Grassroots Perspective. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 235–247.

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