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From 2011-2018, the EFSNE team engaged professionals from multiple universities, non-profits and government agencies.
February 12, 2018

For seven years a multidisciplinary team of more than 40 researchers has explored the extent to which a more robust regional food system in the Northeastern U.S. could improve food access in low-income communities and improve the long-term food security of the entire Northeast. Now, in an initial collection of three papers published in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, team members have summarized some of their findings.

The full set of case studies is available online at
January 30, 2018

For the first time, EFSNE researchers at Cornell University have analyzed where Northeast supermarkets source the foods they sell to their low-income customers. These case studies offer policymakers a better understanding of how regional food systems could bring healthier food to low-income people in the Northeast.

A tree planting in Syracuse, NY. Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension Onondaga County.
November 21, 2016

During the past 18 months, several Consumption Team members hosted events that shared some of the results of the EFSNE project to engage community members on food and agriculture issues in their particular locations. The events, funded by a separate NIFA conference grant, were as diverse as the communities themselves. In some cases they resulted in new on-the-ground efforts to promote food access. These activities sought to stimulate thinking around taking regional level data on food and agricultural sectors and applying it to the local context.

Image: USDA
November 20, 2016

Although more than half of the food-producing farmland in the Northeast U.S. is devoted to producing animal feeds and forages, the region still relies on additional imports to meet the needs of its livestock operations, according to several members of the Production Team. Their findings build on earlier work to provide a more complete picture of how self-reliant the region is in meeting its population’s demand for animal-based foods like meat, dairy, and eggs.

November 18, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. John Eshleman, who received his doctoral degree from Penn State earlier this year. While conducting his dissertation research, Eshleman also was a student member of the EFSNE project’s Consumption team for more than three years and served as a member of its administrative team as well.

November 18, 2016

After five years co-leading this eCoP, Brian Raison handed over the reins to Kathleen Liang who moved from UVM to assume the Kellogg Endowed Professor for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at NC A&T. With support from an AFRI grant, Katie Wright at the University of Arkansas, serves as part-time staff until mid-2017. This eCoP has over 400 members, making it the second largest community of practice of the 70 that eXtension hosts.

November 17, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Nicole Tichenor, who received her doctoral degree from Tufts University earlier this year. While conducting her dissertation research, she also was a student member of the Production Team.

EFSNE Project interns Hayly Hoch, left, and Alyssa Gurklis.
November 15, 2016

Interdisciplinarity is a hallmark of the EFSNE project, so it’s fitting that the project’s most recent interns—two Penn State students from very different majors—found learning from each other to be an important part of the internship experience.

More than 100 people gathered for the EFSNE conference, which was held in Greenbelt, MD in early December.
January 20, 2016

Most of the presentations that were delivered during the project's December 2015 conference are now available online in PDF format.

Dairy cows lined up at feeding trough. Image: Nate Bevans via Penn State News
November 23, 2015

A team of researchers including members of the Distribution Team published a paper last year that illustrates tradeoffs posed by initiatives that promote the purchase of foods grown and processed within certain geographic boundaries. They analyzed the existing Northeastern U.S. dairy supply chain, which served as their baseline scenario, and compared it to two possible localization scenarios in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, economic effects, and the distance that the milk or milk product travels between the dairy farms and the final consumption location.

Ripple in a body of water. Credit: Roger McLassus via Wikimedia Commons
November 16, 2015

The community-based work carried out by members of the Consumption Team has had an unintended ripple effect — it has spawned several local-level activities aimed at improving access to healthy and regionally produced foods.

Graph showing cumulative potential of New York's farmland. See bottom of page for full-size image and caption.
November 16, 2015

One way to increase a region’s capacity to meet its food needs is to bring new land into production; another is to change the mix of crops produced on existing farmland. But what are the potential yields we could expect from new or converted land? That’s the question behind a new tool developed by the Production Team — a productivity index that will help quantify the production capacity of all the arable land in the Northeast.

Members of SCEMO, from L-R: Michael Conard, Kate Clancy, David Fleisher, Tim Griffin, Patrick Canning, Christian Peters, Houtian (Frank) Ge.
November 13, 2015

In early June, the Scenarios and Modeling (SCEMO) and Production teams held a two-day in-person meeting in New York City to plan for the modeling work that will take place during the last year of the EFSNE project. The team also discussed their role in the cross-project writing that remains, and made preparations for the project conference slated for December. The group was hosted by team member Michael Conard at Columbia University.

Elaine Hill. Photo courtesy of University of Rochester
November 12, 2015

On a five-year project, turnover is a fact of life. The best kind of turnover happens when students working on the project receive their degrees and advance in their careers. One of these “project alumni” is Elaine Hill. Now an assistant professor of public health sciences and health economist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Hill worked with the EFSNE project from 2011-2014 as a graduate student at Cornell University. We caught up with Hill over the summer to reflect on her time with the project and to learn more about what she’s up to now.

Zach Conrad. Image provided.
October 17, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Zach Conrad, who received his doctoral degree from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in August. While conducting his dissertation research, Conrad also was a student member of the EFSNE project’s Production Team for more than four years, serving as a research assistant to Drs. Tim Griffin and Christian Peters at Tufts University.

September 4, 2015

Next month, more than 100 people will gather for a conference in Greenbelt, MD, to mark the last phase of the EFSNE project. Attendees will learn about EFSNE project findings and engage in conversation and collaboration with other food system researchers, practitioners, advocates, and funders.

May 4, 2015

As the EFSNE project enters its fifth year, the Consumption Team is marking a major milestone: the completion of its shopper intercept survey effort. Over the course of three years, team members surveyed some 2,700 shoppers, paving the way for researchers to answer several questions about the food-shopping experiences of those surveyed.

Holstein dairy cows eating hay. Credit: Scott Bauer, USDA
May 1, 2015

Production of livestock feed is no small thing in the Northeast, accounting for the use of roughly half of the region’s land in farms, according to earlier work by the Production Team. Now team members have taken their analysis one step further, estimating how many animals this acreage can support, and whether it’s enough to satisfy the region’s demand for animal-based foods like meat, dairy, and eggs.

May 1, 2015

From undergraduate interns conducting intercept surveys to graduate students analyzing land-use data to postdoctoral scholars performing spatial analyses with crop models, the EFSNE project has engaged with dozens of students and trainees. Members of the Education Team are working to document some of this student engagement by administering a survey to all of the students who have been involved with the project to date.

February 13, 2015

There are more than a dozen food stores being studied by the EFSNE project team, an activity that would be impossible if not for the cooperation of the owners and managers who run those stores. Whether providing space for the Consumption Team to conduct intercept surveys or participating in interviews with the Distribution Team, these retailers are integral to the success of the project. And in November, several of them helped in an additional way, by traveling to Maryland to participate in a two-day workshop with EFSNE project researchers, graduate students, and community liaisons. Their participation proved to be beneficial both for the project team and for each other.