Posted: May 7, 2018

In 2015 and 2016, 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. Here's what took place in Baltimore, MD, Dover, DE, and Charleston, WV.

Part one of this story describes events in Vermont, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse.

A workshop on regional in Baltimore, MD

"Think Regional, Act Local: A Workshop Exploring Our Regional Food System" was held in Baltimore on December 4, 2015. Anne Palmer and Karen Banks (Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future), along with EFSNE Deputy Director Kate Clancy, organized the half-day workshop, which engaged 65 participants from the Baltimore region who work on food system issues. Plenary Speaker Benjamin Cohen (Lafayette College) presented on Baltimore's historical connections to the region's food system. Clancy, Palmer, and Banks also spoke about EFSNE, and participants discussed findings from the consumption, urban agriculture, distribution, community readiness, and mapping aspects of the project during afternoon breakout sessions.

A production-centered workshop in Dover, DE

Fruit and vegetable production was the focus of an event held in Delaware on April 5, 2016, organized by Consumption Team member Carol Giesecke (Delaware State University) with the valuable assistance of EFSNE Advisory Board Member and area grower David Marvel. The event welcomed 22 producers, Extension staff, and government officials for a meeting at the local USDA office building. During the morning session, participants heard from Production Team members David Fleisher (USDA-ARS) and Tim Griffin (Tufts University) on what the project had so far discovered about the capacity of the Northeast to produce certain market basket foods and the changing situations caused by various stressors to the system. Consumption Team leader Anne Palmer presented some preliminary consumption data. What these EFSNE findings may mean for the state's fruit and vegetable producers also was discussed.

The afternoon session included presentations from a member of the Kent County (DE) planning commission, who described some of the food-innovation activities being implemented locally, and from Marvel, who spoke about the state's farm-to-school efforts.

A story about the event was published in The Delmarva Farmer newspaper.

A town-hall discussion about disappearing grocery stores in Charleston, WV

Most recently, Bonnie Dunn (West Virginia University) held a town-hall style meeting on October 25, 2016 in Charleston, WV, to hear from residents about how they have been affected by the recent closing of a grocery store that had served the community for more than 50 years. Specifically, the 25 participants discussed where they shop now, how they get there, and whether the change has affected their monthly food spending. The event attracted media attention from several news organizations:

More information about the activities of the Consumption Team is available here.