Category Archives: Initiatives

A U.S. Policy Roadmap: The Intersection of Food + Tech.

Moderated by Chloe Sorvino (Forbes) and Danielle Nierenberg (Food Tank).

Presented by Food Tank and the ReFresh Working Group

TODAY—REGISTER NOW. Tuesday Feb 2: The Power of Connectivity: Broadband Expansion in Rural Communities

Panelists: Michelle Miller, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems; Leanna Mulvihill, Farm Generations Coop; Kim Olson, Retired US air force, Democratic nominee for Texas Agriculture Commissioner; and Ankita Raturi, Purdue University.

Wednesday Feb 3: Protection and Accessibility: Ensuring the Fair Use of Data in the Food System.

Panelists: Kacey Hanson, Dell Medical School; Ali Lange, Google; Matthew Lange, IC-Foods; and Robyn O’Brien, rePlant Capital.

Thursday Feb 4: Reducing Inequities Through a Digitally Skilled Workforce

Panelists: Kevin Krueger, Facebook; Jose Oliva, HEAL Food Alliance; Chris Ramsaroop, Justice for Migrant Workers; Dr. Sekou Siby, ROC United; and Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli, Farmworkers Association of Florida

Friday Feb 5: Strengthening Supply Chains to Build Trust and Improve Food Security

Panelists: Tatiana Garcia Granados, Common Market; Chris Roper, Chris Roper Services; Karen Washington, Rise and Root Farm; Amy Wu, Farms to Incubators, and more to be announced soon!

All panels are recorded. Register for one or all sessions at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-us-policy-roadmap-the-intersection-of-food-and-technology-tickets-137922635315.

COVID19 food supply chain survey

The University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Madison, as part of a multi-regional study funded by the USDA, has launched a survey to assess and quantify the impacts of the COVID-19 on the farm and food communities in our two-state region. The survey includes questions about production, income, financing, staffing, procurement, distribution and sales. 

The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and results will be aggregated for confidentiality. The survey should be completed by a business owner, manager or professional who has knowledge about company sales, staffing and COVID-19 policies

Individuals completing the survey (one per business) can opt into a drawing for $200 gift certificates to Target or Amazon.

Click here to begin the survey. 

The information you provide will help assess the larger impact of COVID-19 to the agriculture and food production industries in our states and across the nation. The survey results will inform decisions made by policymakers and help establish a roadmap for moving forward.

Disparity to Parity

Until farmers receive a fair price for their products, rural life suffers. That is the thrust of a new project – Disparity to Parity. It is a call to mandate fair pricing and update supply management so that we may create a racially just, economically empowered, and climate resilient food system.

The featured essays are written by farmers, activists, scholars, organizers, movement leaders, and policy analysts. Essays include: “Parity: An Economic Foundation for an Agroecological System

Over time, additional essays will be added featuring parity’s history, economic analysis, and sector specific strategies for achieving parity. It is hoped that the work will quicken important conversations in policy design to address climate change and the next Farm Bill.

The effort welcomes comments and collaboration. Check it out!

Webinar on COVID19 and regional food systems

WHAT: The first webinar of the Lessons from COVID-19: Positioning Regional Food Supply Chains for Future Pandemics, Natural Disasters and Human-made Crises project that will include a brief introduction of team members, a holistic project overview, survey tools used and example questions from the first survey, preliminary data from an environmental scan of available resources and insights from prior assessments of the impacts of COVID-19 on the Florida food system. 

WHERE: Register, for free, at https://tinyurl.com/lessonsfromcovid-webinar

WHEN: January 28 1 p.m. CST (11 a.m. PST, 12 p.m. MST, 2 p.m. EST)

FOR WHO: Those engaged in the food supply chain at any level

MORE INFO: www.ruralengagement.org/lessons-from-covid-19

UW-CIAS is partnering with researchers at University of Minnesota, University of Florida, UC-Irvine and Kansas State to document lessons from COVID-19 so that we may better position regional food production to respond to future crises. To share what we are learning in real time, we are offering four free webinars over the course of the next year. Please join us for the first webinar, January 28.

This is a great way to learn more about the supply chain survey we’ve developed, too.

This work is supported by USDA-National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Foodways and COVID19

How has the pandemic changed food for you? How have you adapted your foodways to meet these new conditions?

 CIAS and Spatula&Barcode invite you to participate in the #COVIDFOODWAYS project.

Complete one or both surveys.

Consumers, please visit https://tinyurl.com/CovidFoodwaysSurvey.

Farmers, share your unique perspective at https://tinyurl.com/CovidFoodwaysProducersSurvey.

Hay versiones en español de ambas encuestas disponibles; contáctenos si las prefiere.

CIAS at #uwmadison is partnering with Spatula&Barcode, along with Universities in Uruguay, Sweden, Mexico, and Spain to track the effect of COVID19 on our food ways. We are especially interested in hearing from farmers, and ask you to share these links with farmer friends and colleagues.

We are all affected by the pandemic and its impact on our food systems–please forward this email to anyone who might be interested!

photo credit: Clark & Peterson

Updates on food transportation

Just a news flash that a lot has happened with the Madison Food Terminal. There is more detail posted on the Regional Food Freight Tab (top of your screen). Interested in other transportation issues? I posted a short summary of the 99th Annual Transportation Research Conference on the page, too.

Kate Clancy on food systems

Many of you may know Dr. Kate Clancy’s work on food systems. She has led many a project to diagnose what is working and what is not, including a multi-state project in New England – EFSNE.

Kate was on the UW-Madison campus the week of April 2 and gave a presentation for the Food and the Wisconsin Idea. The session is titled “The systems that feed us and what it will take to change them”. ( https://youtu.be/3yVx9OqKTcA ) The term “food system” is widely used in academia and the nonprofit sector, but what do we really mean by it? Are we really using systems approaches to complex problems that could lead to greater understanding and effective solutions? What stands in our way? I was honored to join Kate on the stage to address these questions. UWEX runs these sessions so that people outstate can join the event as though it is a webniar, or watch the talk on line after the event.

On April 4, Kate was the featured speaker at the Weston Roundtable Lecture speaking on “Building Successful Interdisciplinary Projects” (hotlink to come). Despite widespread acknowledgment that interdisciplinary research (IR) is among the most important ways to drive sustainable development, many collaborations fail, and it has not been embraced by many researchers and institutions. The extensive literature on IR provides guidance on the “ingredients for success”: these elements are illustrated by the experience of a seven-year project – EFSNE – conducted in the Northeast US on enhancing food security in the region. The lecture offers lessons on how to develop and manage robust interdisciplinary projects, and ideas on how to build more IR capacity.

Kate is a food systems consultant, visiting scholar at the Center for a Liveable Future at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Adjunct Professor at Tufts University, and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota.


Tribal Food and Farming 101 workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This two-day workshop will be held February 15-16 at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin, and this workshop will connect to additional workshops and training opportunities throughout the 2019 growing season, including the Wisconsin Intertribal Seed Stewardship Cohort that will be hosting monthly online training sessions.

To register and learn more, go to: https://iacgreatlakes.com/workshop/

Google’s Refresh: Food + Tech

Google wants to better understand the ways that technology can benefit food systems. Skeptical? So was I. But after participating in three meetings, including one in Chicago last week, I am warming to the idea.

Watch the conversation about the future of AI in our food system with former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Food Tank, Google, and Refresh Working Group members. I think you will particularly enjoy the duet between Ali Lange (Google, formerly of the Center for Democracy and Technology), and Don Bustos, a Native New Mexican farmer. Ankita Raturi hit the ball out of the park when she notes that rural US needs stable internet access. This one is worth the watch.

“I think we have a long way to go before we start deploying Siri for farms,” she said. “We need fundamental technical infrastructure right now … very basic building blocks. What are the fundamental pieces we need to build first, and then people can imagine what other tools might be able to do.” –Ankita Raturi

In a first report from the working group, From Soil to Supper, you will see short pieces on how AI is currently in use, primarily for data collection for traditional production, distribution, and retailing. It is my hope that future reports will begin to address power disparities in the food system and the way that data privatization and technology appropriate for small to mid-scale farms is being developed. Something to help farmers anticipate extreme weather, like the Driftless flooding, would be appreciated, I am sure.

And if you have thoughts about food+tech you want me to bring to the table, please post comments below. I would be happy to share your thoughts with the working group at our next meeting.