Community resources

Ensuring that communities have access to fresh, affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food takes input and effort from everyone in the community — residents, elected officials, schools, institutions and families all have roles to play to support a vibrant community food system. The resources here can help communities develop school and community gardens, promote "buy local" food programs, support food businesses, encourage healthier eating choices, and much more.

See below for more specific resources related to the following food system tiers: home production, direct from farmer, and regional partners and markets.

General information on food systems

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass
Case studies, research and information on USDA grants, loans and programs that can help local food system participants; describes the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support local and regional food systems 

Mizzou Advantage Food for the Future

St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project
Information about the project; a free guide for retailers on food safety, handling and storage; and links to other resources

MU Extension Healthy Livestyles Initiative
Website listing a number of resources for communities in improving access to healthy foods and creating environments for active living.

Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy

MU Extension publication MP908, Season Fruits and Vegetable Poster (

University of Minnesota Extension Community and Local Foods Resources (

Virginia Cooperative Extension (Virginia State University)

Home production: Tier 0

Community gardening

MU Extension publication MP906, Community Garden Toolkit (
A guide to starting and maintaining a community garden

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education - MU Extension
Index of resources

Community Gardening — A Review of the Research Literature

Summary of literature including evaluation, health promotion, nutrition, social networks and connectedness, community development, and social justice, and the politics of land use.

Youth and school gardening

Eating From the Garden
A nutrition and gardening program for fourth and fifth grades

Garden 'N Grow
Afterschool gardening program for youth

Food From the Farm
Kindergarten program that teaches where food comes from and encourages eating local fruits and vegetables

MU Extension publications:

Food preparation and preservation

MU Extension Nutrition Program — Food
Website and MU Extension guide sheets

MU Extension publications:

Hunting and fishing

MU Extension 4-H Program
Information on youth archery, hunting and sport fishing

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Information on state park policies

Missouri Department of Conservation
Information about hunting and fishing seasons and other regulations

Wild Edibles of Missouri
Recipes and information about edible wildlife and wild plants from the Missouri Department of Conservation

Direct from farmer: Tier 1

Farmers markets

MU Extension publications:

AgriMissouri Farmers Market Handbook (PDF)
A guide to creating and managing farmers markets and the laws and regulations that govern them

Regional partners and markets: Tier 2

Moving food to institutions

Missouri Farm to School Project
Success stories on school food systems in Missouri that are incorporating locally produced food; tools from around the country to help initiate farm to school programs; results from a 2010 survey of school food directors

Missouri Farm to School Resource Guide (PDF)
Resource guide for school food service directors and farmers that includes tips on procurement and managing bids

Local Producer Lead List
List of distributors, producers and food service organizations in Missouri compiled on the MU Agricultral Electronic Bulletin Board (not a comprehensive list)

MU Extension publication MP918, Seasonal and Simple Cookbook for Food Service (

Food safety

Local Food Safety Resources
Webinar and resources available from MU Extension through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program

Aggregation and distribution

Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution
U.S. Department of Agriculture publication describing eight  innovative regional food distribution models, including lessons learned and best practices

Innovative Models: Small Grower and Retailer Collaborations
Wallace Center at Winrock International publication describing key lessons for successful retail partnerships

Building Successful Food Hubs: A Business Planning Guide for Aggregating and Processing Local Food in Illinois (PDF)
Guide from that describes key functions, best practices and how-to strategies for food hub establishment and operation that are based on successful models and adapted for Illinois

Regional Produce Supply Chains
Resource details significant systemic issues to consider and potential solutions for building produce supply chains regionally.  Issues in produce supply chains from key stakeholder groups including farmers, aggregators, wholesalers and retailers.  Provides a focus for farmers in the Agriculture of the Middle.