Don’t miss these items in local food and agriculture news from around our region:
Farm to Institution New England
New FINE Campus Dining Report Shows New England Colleges Spend $67.7 Million on Local Food Annually
Farm to Institution New England (FINE) is pleased to announce the release of Campus Dining 201: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Farm to College in New England. The report summarizes the results of FINE’s 2018 survey of New England colleges and universities with dining services. The survey was a follow-up to our 2015 survey and report, which established a baseline understanding of local procurement on college campuses in New England and has informed our research and programs since its release.
Results show that 93 percent of responding colleges reported purchasing local food for their dining services. On average, responding colleges spent more than a fifth (21.5 percent) of their annual food budget on local food (spending $67.7 million on local food). Read the full report for more information on specific food items that colleges are sourcing locally and those they report are difficult to source locally; procurement goals; distributors used; self-operated colleges and food service management companies; and much more.
Rhode Island Food Policy Council
The Rhode Island Food Policy Council is proud to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website, www.rifpc.org. This new website contains a groundbreaking Rhode Island Food Systems metrics dashboard. The dashboard portrays the entirety of our state’s food system — from number of farms to tons of food wasted to value of food donated to pantries — in a simple and compelling way.
The dashboard provides key information on the five food system focus areas laid out in Rhode Island’s five-year food strategy, Relish Rhody, published in May, 2017. It gives Rhode Islanders access to data designed to support greater understanding of our state’s particular challenges and opportunities.
The five focus areas include:
- Preserve and Grow Agriculture and Fisheries
- Sustain and Create Markets for Rhode Island Food and Beverage Products
- Enhance Climate for Food and Beverage Businesses
- Ensure Food Security for All Rhode Islanders
- Minimize Food Waste and Divert it from the Waste Stream
Viewers can click on any of the five focus areas to visit a dedicated page including a summary of high-priority activities, 3 to 4 easy-to-read charts, a curated list of supporting information, and illustrated success stories showing how Rhode Island agencies and organizations are making a difference.
The website also shares information about the RI Food Policy Council, including staff and council member bios, bylaws, and notes on how to get involved. It lays out 2019 Council policy priorities and features a new Rhode Island Food Policy Bill Tracker. It provides detailed information about the RI DEM Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grant Program (LASA), which RIFPC helps to administrate, and describes current special projects. It also contains regularly updated news and events listings.
May 20 — The Farm Bill for RI Citizens, A Brown Bag Lunch
Have you ever wondered about exactly what is in the Farm Bill, its origins and history, and the battles that will determine the direction of food policy in the coming years? Then join The Rhode Island Food Policy Council at Social Enterprise Greenhouse (10 Davol Square, Providence), 12-1pm, for a discussion of the new book The Farm Bill: A Citizen’s Guide!. Authors Daniel Imhoff and Christina Badaracco translate this nearly 1,000-page document into an easy-to-read 200 pages. Come learn about how farm subsidies, SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), and conservation programs are changing.
Nov 8-10 — It Takes A Region Conference: Call for Proposals!
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)is looking for sessions that tackle systemic issues with engaging activities and presentations that prioritize the leadership and voices of those most impacted by the issue discussed. Priority will be given to sessions presented by traditionally underrepresented groups that directly address some aspect of inequity in the food system. You will be asked to indicate this representation in the form.
Here are the tracks:
- Racial and Immigrant Justice in the Food System- Stories, presentations, and trainings related to racial injustice and immigration in the food system
- Farm and Food Policy Advocacy- Hear from policy advocates from all corners of the food system
- Urban and Rural Sustainable Agriculture- Urban growers and gardeners, rural farmers, and ag researchers and educators are all presenting under this track.
- Farm to Fork Supply Chains- Production, distribution, processing, preparation – everything that brings food from seed to plate.
- Youth Leaders (13-18)- Teenagers from around the Northeast sharing stories, skills, and community. Sessions closed to only Youth are indicated in session description.