St. Louis Fed Releases Research on the Power of Food System Investments to Boost Regional Economies

August 03, 2017

ST. LOUIS – The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s offices of Rural Development and the Agricultural Marketing Service, have released Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, a compilation of research, essays and reports that explores the potential for the growing popularity of locally sourced food to be harnessed to boost economic opportunities for rural and urban communities.

“Regional food systems represent a promising avenue for economic growth for both rural and urban communities through the creation of new or the enhancement of existing jobs and businesses,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard in the book’s foreword. Through the work that was conducted to develop the book, “we also learned that, with appropriately targeted policies and support, the attendant opportunities can advance the economic and financial security of low- and moderate-income households and communities.”

Contributors include experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, financial institutions, universities, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and more.

The book covers topics such as:

• the prospects available in the regional food systems sector,

• how to advance efforts to provide meaningful earnings and job opportunities for LMI households and communities,

• the vital partnerships that are key for deploying knowledge and capital to support the sector’s continued growth,

• examples of communities who have used regional food strategies to advance economic and other community goals, and

• models of collaboration between policymakers, practitioners, and the financial community.

In addition to exploring how the development of regional food systems can contribute direct economic benefits, the book also shows how improved access to healthier foods can boost community health and lead to a more productive workforce.

For more information, see the Harvesting Opportunity website at

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