Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Southeast > Natural Resources > Southeast Foodshed Planning Initiative

Southeast Foodshed Planning Initiative

Project files

Purpose

The Southeast Foodshed Planning Initiative (SEFPI) is an effort to engage University researchers with community leadership and help “connect the dots” of over 10 years of local food projects in Southeast Minnesota. UMN faculty members, research fellows and student are involved in research projects that address broad interdisciplinary questions: In what ways are the citizens of Southeast Minnesota food self-sufficient? What incentives and opportunities are needed to reach some level of food self-sufficiency? What are the possibilities for regional food production to meet economic, social, environmental, and nutritional needs?

Partners

MN Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Olmsted County Public Health Services University of Minnesota faculty and graduate students from a wide range of departments, including but not limited to: Environmental Science, Policy & Management, Animal Science, Family Social Science, Geography, Evaluation Studies & Comparative & International Development Education, Public Policy, Applied Plant Sciences, Horticulture, Landscape Architecture, Liberal Arts, Institute for Global Studies, Public Health, Water & Climate, Information Technology, Applied Economics, Center for Rural Design

Activities

Research areas include program and policy review, production assessment, community survey on food systems perspectives, produce demand of minority consumers, foodshed analysis of potential agricultural production, consumer expenditure analysis, spatial analysis and mapping, and project evaluation and community engagement.

Outcomes

An Emerging SE MN Regional Food System Working Group associated with the SEFPI is working toward developing a food system guidance body for the region. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) brings new partners to this work. Food systems workshops and meetings are bringing local foods advocates together with public health and other community leaders with the hopes of establishing a long-term, well-organized food system development agenda to benefit the region. Three Regional Goals are: 1) Improve healthy food access, especially to underserved communities; 2) Build infrastructure to support better distribution; and 3) Develop an ongoing, institutionalized means of policy-making associated with healthy food environments in the Southeast region. The SE RSDP is working with Olmsted County Public Health Services to build on these goals, and connect with farmers, food distributors, school staff, social service organizations, food shelves, businesses, and health providers to create a SE MN Regional Food System Working Group.