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Regional Food Systems Infrastructure

In This Article:

Many regional development organizations (RDOs) and councils of governments are exploring how they can support regional food systems infrastructure, according to the 2011 NADO Research Foundation report Regional Food Systems Infrastructure (PDF).  In recent years, an emphasis on eating locally grown food has flourished as many Americans have sought to direct more of their food-purchasing budget to producers located closer to home.  However, significant barriers prevent small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers from connecting with the expanding base of consumers who seek locally grown food.  Many regions lack the transportation and distribution network required to support area producers.

This report describes the role of RDOs in supporting regional farmers, processors and distributors.  Promoting small- and mid-size agricultural operations offers numerous benefits to a region, including sustained economic development, protection for regional farmland and rural landscapes, and reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gas emissions.  By developing partnerships with area farmers and other stakeholders, RDOs can help to develop regional food systems infrastructure that will support economic development initiatives and other program goals.

This report was produced through the NADO Research Foundation’s Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development under a cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration.

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