Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities | Summary and Q&A

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December 15, 2017
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Federal Reserve
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Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities

TL;DR

The Federal Reserve Board partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to explore the potential of regional food systems to create jobs and improve access to healthy food.

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Key Insights

  • 😋 Regional food systems have the potential to boost local economies and provide better access to healthy food.
  • 😋 The involvement of different stakeholders, including policymakers, regulators, and capital providers, is essential for creating a successful regional food system.
  • 😋 Consumer preferences, such as transparency and traceability, play a significant role in shaping the regional food system industry.
  • 😋 Small businesses in the regional food system space require not only access to capital but also technical assistance and financial understanding.
  • 😋 Collaboration between different types of investors can increase confidence in regional food system investments.
  • 😋 The risks associated with the regional food system are diverse and not fully known to the traditional financing sector.
  • 😋 Investments in regional food systems can create economic opportunities for rural, suburban, and urban communities.

Transcript

The Federal Reserve Board in August hosted a conference and published a book titled "Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities." The book and conference were the culmination of a two-year partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Federal Reserve. Through our partnership with ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the partnership between the Federal Reserve and the USDA come about?

The partnership began with events in Missouri to educate local economic developers about the potential of regional food systems. Concerns raised by small farmers and food entrepreneurs led to discussions on financing, which eventually led to the partnership.

Q: What are regional food systems?

Regional food systems encompass various industries involved in the production, distribution, marketing, processing, and retail of food that is connected to a specific place. They promote local differentiation and connect people to their communities through food.

Q: What shifts have occurred in consumer preferences related to regional food systems?

Consumers now prioritize transparency and traceability in their food choices and are increasingly multi-channel shoppers. Additionally, small and mid-sized companies have gained market share at the expense of larger brands.

Q: What resources are highlighted in the Harvesting Opportunity publication?

The publication focuses on the resources required by regional food enterprises. It emphasizes the need for access to capital, technical assistance, and management training to support small business growth and operational self-sufficiency.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Federal Reserve partnered with the USDA and the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank to explore how regional food systems can impact local economies and provide better access to capital for small farmers and food entrepreneurs.

  • Regional food systems involve the production, distribution, marketing, and retailing of food that is unique to a specific place, and they have benefitted from shifts in consumer preferences.

  • Investments in regional food systems can enhance economic opportunities for rural, suburban, and urban communities by promoting small business development and entrepreneurship.

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