The Next Food Systems Agenda: A Western Grassroots Perspective
Keywords: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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