Table of Contents
Ch. 1 Introduction
Ch. 2 Consumption and Local Food Access
Ch. 3 Infrastructure and Retail Marketing Opportunities
Ch. 4 Production and Marketing of Local Food
Ch. 5 Synthesis and Summary of Findings
The Jackson and Union County Community Food Assessment (CFA) was initiated in 2008 and carried out through 2010. The community residents who participated were united in identifying current local food system elements and highlighting the needs, as well as the existing assets. The assessment served as an excellent tool with which to speak to the community and identify the projects that might strengthen our local food system.
A steering committee of more than 20 local residents originally mapped out several questions about the food system which were translated into objectives for the project. The CFA Team then used a variety of methods to analyze the production, marketing and consumption of food in the two counties. To ensure that the research was relevant and meaningful, two graduate students from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale were recruited to assist. The data collected was processed and interpreted with a great deal of effort on the part of the student researchers. We then reviewed census data, previously conducted CFAs, and other available research and information. Our research showed that there is tremendous opportunity for local food system development in Jackson and Union counties. At the same time, the area has many wonderful advantages and resources on which to build.
Community food security was the catalyst for the assessment. The CFA Team saw the information gathered as a means of supporting community-led approaches to increasing the amount of food grown and consumed locally in a manner that is accessible to all citizens. While there are significant barriers to the production, distribution and marketing of locally grown food, the findings detailed in this report serve as a starting point for residents to work together to create a more resilient local food system.