Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Development of an Urban Food Leadership Coop in Support of a Local Food System

EPA Grant Number: SU834343
Title: Development of an Urban Food Leadership Coop in Support of a Local Food System
Investigators: Francis, Charles , Burbach, Mark , Koehler-Cole, Katja , Matkin, Gina , Quinn, John E. , Quinn, Courtney , Vanwart, Justin
Institution: University of Nebraska at Lincoln
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


A need shared by all communities is a clean environment that supports a sustainable food system and promotes human health. The current food system does not model environmental, social, or economic sustainability. Therefore, the challenge is to develop and support a new food system that creates sustainability for people, prosperity, and the planet. Local food systems reduce chemical use and transportation food miles, reconnect consumers and producers, teach people about food, and create a more resilient local economy.


To support a burgeoning urban food system in the mid-west, this innovative project will develop the Urban Food Leadership Co-op (UFLC).


The UFLC will improve the viability of an urban food system by 1) reducing transaction costs and cost of entry, 2) providing focused training for parties with little or no experience in food production and marketing, 3) facilitating the movement of goods into the food system through local farmers markets, and 4) ensuring continued mentoring and support of participants. The UFLC will increase the diversity of participants in the food system by recruiting women, minority, and part-time market gardeners interested in growing food for both their own families and local food systems.

Expected Results:

Researchers will quantify the benefits of the project for the following outcomes based upon the project’s goals and objectives

  1. A reduction in informational transaction costs of starting a new market garden
  2. An increase in the number of people growing food for personal consumption or sale
  3. An increase in the amount of land in produce production
  4. A reduction in food miles traveled to supply urban consumers with produce
  5. An increased understanding and appreciation of how local food can benefit people and the planet

Supplemental Keywords:

local food system, leadership, transaction costs,

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report