Extension Southern Region Local Foods Initiative

The current interest in community, regional, and local food systems provides an ideal context for bringing together multiple Extension disciplines, professionals, and partners to create, maintain, and support profitable, sustainable, and affordable food production and distribution schemes with the ultimate outcome of healthier diets and healthier people across the Southern Region.

“Local foods” is a natural fit for Extension, as it encompasses farmers, food processors and distributors, community gardens, farmers markets, community volunteers, economic development, food security, better nutrition for children and adults­—all areas in which Extension has deep expertise, dedicated and skilled professionals, and decades of documented success.

In 2013, a multi-state working group of Extension professionals representing a variety of disciplines, including human nutrition, agricultural profitability, horticulture, community development, accountability, and marketing communications came together to address this opportunity, by demonstrating the value of interdisciplinary programming efforts and by developing common measures for evaluating and communicating Extension’s impact.

This site has been created to share the resources developed by this working group and to provide a way for others to learn about and contribute to the work. If you have questions about this initiative, please contact Karen Gehrt (gehrtk@vt.edu) or Elizabeth Gregory North (enorth@ext.msstate.edu).

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