Regional Food Systems
Today’s food systems are increasingly understood to embody most of the key concerns facing the world in the 21st century, while at the same time offering potential solutions to most of those same issues. The anonymous, large-scale, industrialized, commodity-based food system that predominates in the United States contributes to major problems such as climate change, water scarcity and pollution, food-borne illnesses and antibiotic resistance, species and habitat loss, obesity and its attendant diseases, food insecurity and market concentration among a relatively few multinational corporations.
In an effort to provide countervailing models, the goal of the Regional Food Systems Program is to strengthen New England’s expanding market for regionally and sustainably grown food with innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the supply chain. The program’s exclusive focus is the six-state region.
- Expand and streamline the supply of, and demand for, regionally and sustainably produced food in institutional markets through efficient regionally focused supply chains
- Effectively channel growing demand for regionally and sustainably produced food among New England’s large institutional food purchasers—hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, and military facilities, among others—through efficiently operating networks of producers and distributors
- Build and support innovative models for successful, regionally focused supply chains for non-institutional regional food markets
- Supporting centrally positioned organizations with experience in institutional procurement within key sectors: education (primary, secondary schools schools and colleges and universities); hospitals; government (state and municipal agencies and facilities); and the military (bases and Veterans Administration hospitals)
- Leveraging grantmaking by building collaborations that include NGOs as key partners to facilitate institutional market scaling and tipping points with stakeholders across sectors
- Strengthening the capacity of food producers and distributors to satisfy institutional customer demand
Note: This program was previously known as the Rural New England Program.