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Site goals . . .
Promoting strong local and regional economies by offering tools that help entrepreneurs build business ecosystems rooted in agriculture.
Entrepreneurs can use the tools on this site to connect their business idea into a supply chain network of locally owned businesses, existing and planned, and together with other entrepreneurs and locally owned businesses find the capital needed to launch their businesses. Food is of particular interest both to entrepreneurs and consumers, hence the name localfoodsystems.org, but other basic needs like energy, equipment, services and materials that are part of agriculture are of equal importance.
Who is behind this . . .
This site is a project of the Agroecosystems Management Program of The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and many collaborators in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Site development has been supported by a USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative Regional Partnerships for Innovation Grant (posted here) as well as a structural change grant from the Fund for Our Economic Future in Northeast Ohio (information here).
Why . . .
1. We have the people, land and climate needed to produce fresh, affordable, and healthy food, renewable energy, shelter and the things we use daily.
2. Our growing community of entrepreneurs, producers and consumers can create strong local economies by creating new locally owned businesses and jobs.
3. Vibrant local and regional agriculture generates wealth in communities, establishes healthy environments for families, and enhances quality of life for all.
A brief history . . .
The Agroecosystems Management Program of the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center organized a local food system distribution infrastructure workshop held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture on February 29, 2008. The workshop brought together key participants from throughout the Ohio food system for the first time, and generated tremendous energy and excitement about working together. This social networking website was launched during the workshop as a way to keep the approximately 90 workshop participants connected, communicating, and productive. The site has since grown steadily in subscribers and working groups. Grants have funded further development focused on strengthening networking capacity and honing collaborative skills that prompt market expansion, technology commercialization, and business growth in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and beyond.