Regional Food Systems
UEPI’s Regional Food Systems program strives to build a more equitable and sustainable food system in Southern California that both supports small and midsized farmers and supplies fresh seasonal foods to retailers, institutions, and consumers in underserved communities.
After several years of leadership in the Farm to School movement, UEPI learned that many of the challenges in getting fresh, local foods into schools and other institutional markets were due to barriers on the supply side. The success and sustainability of these programs hinged upon small-scale farmers gaining access to wholesale distribution channels and other necessary infrastructure that many lacked. Today, UEPI’s main strategy for overcoming these barriers and expanding regional food infrastructure is through “regional food hubs” or, integrated food distribution systems that coordinate agricultural production and the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing of locally or regionally-produced foods products. Regional food hubs essentially help small-scale farmers break into new wholesale markets that they could not otherwise reach. More detailed information about food hubs can be found on the National Good Food Network’s Food Hub Collaboration site. For more information contact Sharon Cech.
Northeast Los Angeles Food Hub
UEPI’s primary Regional Food Systems project is currently to envision and plan for a food hub in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA). As a member of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative (NELA RC) —a multi-stakeholder group exploring possibilities for community economic development and revitalization in Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods bordering the LA River— UEPI is leading a project to investigate the feasibility of creating a food hub that will provide jobs for local residents and increase the availability of fresh local food options within NELA and surrounding communities, while providing services to small-scale regional farmers.
Oxy student interns have contributed to a variety of Regional Food Systems research, publications, and events. For information on upcoming Regional Food Systems internships or other opportunities for student involvement, please visit our “Opportunities” page.
Did you know that almost 15% of the food served by Oxy’s Campus Dining is locally produced? You can find out more about what local items are on the menu each week by scrolling down to the “local highlight” on the Campus Dining sustainability page!
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