Category Archives: Initiatives

You asked, we researched…food transportation

Workshop: Freight innovations to optimize regional food resiliency

Register for the regional food freight workshop in Chicago here: https://uwccs.eventsair.com/61503dr/rffc

Tuesday January 5, 2016

 

Watching farm trucks pull into the Capital Square farmers market in Madison, WI can make one wonder how to get regional food to regional markets more efficiently. Driftless farm and food businesses, such as Driftless Organics, Morningside Orchard, 5th Season and Organic Valley work hard to figure out how to engage with green transportation options to get their products to Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Logistics, labor regulations, congestion, docking arrangements make this all very complex.

In April, 2010 CIAS started convening Driftless Food and Farm meetings where food transportation was identified as a top issue, but there were few resources available to address this critical component to resilient agriculture and food systems. In 2011 -2012, we made important links to researchers in logistics and freight transportation. In February 2013, we hosted the first regional food supply chain gathering in LaCrosse, where more than 100 businesses, NGOs, and allies convened to think through transportation barriers and opportunities. In 2014, a research team representing multiple different aspects of the food supply chain and leaders in the field continued to investigate the nature of regional supply chains and look for leverage points to elegantly improve systems. We learned from other nascent regional efforts in the New England States and California, and noted innovations in the private sector. We want to share this with you.

This meeting provides an opportunity to consider systemic improvements for moving food from rural to urban areas in such a way that potentially can meet the needs of all stakeholders and address critical issues like GHG emissions and food access. Much like past meetings, this one is intended to bring practitioners together to share their experiences, observations, successes and lessons learned. The format highlights some speakers from the field to jumpstart our conversations and we expect that much of the work will happen during small group discussions, over lunch and beyond.

If you have a stake in moving food from farm to market, please register. We need you at the table. Please share news of the conference with your supply chain partners and encourage them to come. If we pull together, forward momentum is assured.

The venue has limited capacity, so please register early to ensure a spot. Some scholarships are available. Please contact Michelle Miller if you are interested in one. mmmille6 AT wisc.edu, 608-262-7135

For more information on the conference including speakers and format, as well as information on past meetings and reports on regional food freight, go to the page dedicated to that work on this web site – tabbed at the top right corner “Regional Food Freight”.

 

 

Field days at West Madison Agricultural Research Station focus on vegetable flavor

This year at West Madison, Horticulture professor Julie Dawson planted trials of several
species of vegetables with a particular focus on flavor, with varieties selected by plant breeders at UW Madison and by seed companies with organic seed offerings for direct-market growers.

They have beets, carrots, onion, lettuce, hot and sweet peppers, melons, winter squash, cabbage, tomato, potato and sweet corn in collaboration with plant breeders at UW Madison and the West Madison demonstration gardens.

Field days are each month from 3-5 pm. Participants will tour a breeding nursery or larger trial each time, and also look at all the crops in the demonstration gardens and do a taste test.

  • Wednesday August 27th: tomatoes, sweet corn, melons, peppers
  • Monday September 22nd: beets, carrots, onions, tomatoes
  • Tuesday October 21st: potatoes, winter squash, carrots

All the field days will be held at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station 8502 Mineral Point Rd, Verona WI 53593, universitydisplaygardens.com.

For more information and to receive information on project results, contact Julie Dawson,
Department of Horticulture, dawson@hort.wisc.edu.

Strengthen your values-based supply chain connections

Remember the talk about a trade association for regional food? the Local Food Association, based in Lexington, KY,  is organizing just such a service! The director bio is awesome and they have a great board of directors. They are hosting a first conference November 6th for supply chain businesses, including farmers / shippers, to meet and do business.

http://www.infoinc.com/LFA/0814.html

Transportation and logistics for Driftless food

Watching farm trucks pull into the Capital Square farmers market can make one wonder how to get regional food to regional markets more efficiently. Driftless farm and food businesses like Driftless Organics, Morningside Orchard, 5th Season and Organic Valley work hard to figure out how to engage with green transportation options to get their products to Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, even Chicago. Logistics, labor regulations, congestion, docking arrangements make this all very complex.

In April, 2010 CIAS convened a Driftless Food and Farm meeting where some of the participants broke out to discuss transportation and logistics. Compared to some of the other topic groups, this group was at relatively early stages of thinking, planning and doing. People in the region were working independently, but were increasingly ready to organize. This part of the food supply chain offers opportunity to grow and diversify the local economy much like other parts of the chain, but the way forward is less clear than it is with bricks-and-mortar projects. There is a strong interest in maintaining a vision of sustainability in the development of new systems.

The topic group identified these next steps:

  • Who in the region can provide leadership for this work? What is necessary for them to build capacity to take on that leadership? Where do we find that support?
  • What is the most appropriate scale to work with? Local, county, multi-county, state, etc.?
  • Where could the region find industry expertise, if only to understand what questions yet need to be answered in thinking about distribution and logistics?
  • How do we build awareness with farmers about the role that this part of the food supply chain plays and the associated costs / savings of working in moving beyond direct marketing into a wholesale model?

CIAS is pleased to report on progress made to address some of these questions.In 2011 and 2012, CIAS made important connections to freight engineering research center on campus – CFIRE – and supported a group of students to understand what issues we face in moving high-value local food to regional markets. Rosa Kozub, Lindsey Day-Farnsworth, David Nelson, Ben Zeitlow, Peter Allen, and Rachel Murray, along with Teresa Adams, Alfonso Morales, and Ernie Perry all worked with CIAS to crack this nut.

In February 2013, CIAS teamed up with USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service’s transportation division to offer the meeting “Networking Across the Supply Chain: Transportation Innovations for Local and Regional Food Systems“. More than 100 participants – the majority of whom had business interests in this topic – participated and shared their expertise.

June 2014 USDA-AMS and UW-CIAS released a report that describes what happened at this meeting and our best thinking to date on some of the fundamental questions facing the local food movement. To view a summary of the meeting, go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/231458906  Emergent strategies that we’ve documented include:

  • strengthen regional supply chains by helping like-minded businesses find one another, and provide a venue for business communication and supply chain governance;
  • improve logistics at the region level, recognizing that LTL freight requires terminal markets that can de-aggregate products and TL freight, especially around metro regions, may benefit from innovative infrastructure investments; and
  • investigate multi-modal and dual purpose approaches to increase efficiencies

We now have a nimble team of researchers, staff and students on campus with growing expertise on supply chain development for regional food. Thanks to all who participated in the six Driftless Food and Farm meetings who helped shape subsequent investigations and whose input resulted in research with real-world usefulness.

Next Steps

CIAS, CFIRE, the Center for Coops and the State Smart Transportation Innitiative (a project of another UW campus research center – COWS)  are working together with Organic Logistics, the Wisconsin Local Foods Hub, Fresh Taste, and other partners to take this work to the next level. We are writing proposals to vet some of the emergent ideas with stakeholders and further engage the region in creating the world we envision.

Watch for further updates as we make progress. And please let us know what you think of our work in this topic area, at any time.

Open-source Biomimicry curriculum

Cobb Hill, VT

Offering an open-source curriculum by Sustainability Leaders Network designed to strengthen and inform the biomimicry movement among educators and learners locally and around the world.

The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone. – Janine Benyus, leading biomimicry scholar

About this curriculum
This course offers an introduction to biomimicry and how to learn from nature. With an emphasis on getting outside and exploring the land around you, the biomimicry curriculum that we have designed, tested, and refined focuses on observing, appreciating and learning from nature and natural systems in your locality. Cognizant of the ways in which consumption and population growth have degraded our environment, we focus on positive solutions learned from nature and ways to take meaningful action.

I know all of the statistics of destruction, but I have chosen to come to this out of love, because I love this place. And I want to stay here. I want to stay home. – Janine Benyus

Course goals
Through this course, teachers and learners alike will:

  1. Become knowledgeable and enthusiastic about biomimicry.
  2. Get outside and strengthen relationships with the local environment.
  3. Learn to better recognize, observe, and think creatively about processes and systems in nature.
  4. Shift to see nature not as something to exploit, but as a teacher and model.
  5. Collaborate with nature to devise and apply practical solutions to current challenges.

Colleagues Edie Farwell and Dominic Stucker designed the original curriculum, Edie taught the course at The Sharon Academy in autumn 2012, and Dominic Stucker and Alex Bauermeister further developed the course for publication.

Local Food Training for Institutions

Register Now!

Local Food Training for Institutions:

Greg Christian Takes On Your Menu and Budget

Thursday December 6, 2012, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Dane County UW-Extension Building,  5201 Fen Oak Dr, Madison, WI

 

Don’t miss this! IFM and Greg Christian are teaming up to bring you this hands-on training. Greg is known nationally for his efforts to help food service operations use more sustainable practices and source local food. At this training, Greg will work with participating food service directors and chefs to help them learn how to incorporate more seasonal local food into their menus and budgets. Attendees are encouraged to bring purchase orders, receipts, menus, and recipes from November and December 2011 so Greg can help problem solve on the spot. Greg will also prepare several seasonal dishes appropriate for an institutional kitchen.

Registration: An agenda with a registration form is attached. You can also find these on the IFM website. Mail in your registration form with a check (or request an invoice) by November 19. Prices are $50 for non IFM Members, $35 for IFM members, and $25 for culinary students.

More About Greg Christian: Greg is the founder and CEO of Beyond Green. He is a chef, author, and consultant to food service operations with a focus on sustainability. He designed the sustainability strategy for the Field Museum’s food service. Most recently, he has been working with Bureau Valley School District 340 and Niles Township High School District 219 generating healthy food-sustainability strategies for their food service operations.

More About IFM: The Institutional Food Market Coalition (IFM) is a Dane County UW-Extension program that works to increase the sales of local Wisconsin food to institutions. We connect buyers with local food suppliers and offer educational opportunities to help them overcome obstacles to local sourcing. Read more on the IFM website.

Please share this invitation widely, and contact me with any questions. Hope you can make it!

Sincerely,

Laura Witzling
IFM Coordinator
Dane County UW-Extension
5201 Fen Oak Dr, Room 138
Madison, WI 53718
Phone: (608) 224-3710
Email:
witzling@countyofdane.com

www.ifmwi.org

An EEO/AA employer, UW Extension provides equal opportunities and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.

 

Making F2S work

Some of you may know Josh Miner, former F2S coordinator for the LaCrosse school district. Josh has done some great work looking at the economics of some of the efforts to get high-quality food into medium-sized school districts. As we know, it must be economically viable to be sustainable. Josh shared his thoughts on the economics of F2S with me recently. Making Farm-to-School work in Wisconsin (for real)

Increasing capacity in the tri-state area

Iowa State Extension just hired Brittany Bethel as the new Regional Foods Coordinator for Eastern Iowa and the tri-state area of IA, WI and IL. She writes,

” We have a vibrant community of farmers, consumers, institutions and agencies dedicated to promoting the use of local foods, and many resources for people interested in the nutritional, environmental and economic benefits of using more food produced in our region. I will be promoting promote resources, partners and programs that will support the further growth of our local foods community.

My position is supported by the Limestone Bluffs  RC&D and the Dubuque County ISU Extension.  The deliverables include: Producer Inventory, Local Food Buyer List, Email Distribution (to share events, information, and news), Training Events, Stakeholder Meetings, Business Development Activities and Development of a Regional Food System Expansion Plan.  Other organizations involved include Buy Fresh, Buy Local-River Bend and Dubuque Eats Well RFSWG.”

Sign up for their site – she is posting many local events that may be of interest, especially for those in the Dubuque area.

Welcome Brittany!

Driftless regional food policy council?

I posted a question on regional food systems to LinkedIn, and a respondent suggested I take a look at what they are doing in Puget Sound. What do you think? Would a Driftless Region food policy council make sense?

http://psrc.org/about/advisory/regional-food-policy-council

Another respondent shared what they are doing in Ontario. There is a nonprofit who organized its members to attend food shows in major markets. The equivalent would be to purchase some floor exhibition space at the Fancy Food Show in Chicago for Driftless purveyors. Ditto Twin Cities, Milwaukee, etc.. What do you think of that?