Consumer resources

As a food consumer, you make significant decisions about food every day. Whether you grow your own food in a home or community garden, shop at a farmers market, choose a locally sourced meal at a restaurant, or purchase foods from around the world at your local supermarket, learning more about the food system can help you make more informed decisions about the food you eat. On this page you will find information to help you, as a consumer, grow better gardens, source locally produced food, eat healthier and support food businesses in your community.

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

MU Extension Healthy Lifestyles Initiative
Information on how to develop a community-wide health initiative and links to resources related to improving access to healthy foods and creating environments for active living

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

Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy

MU Extension publication MP908, Seasonal Fruits and Vegetable Poster (

University of Minnesota Extension Community and Local Foods Resources (

Virginia Cooperative Extension (Virginia State University)

Home production: Tier 0

Home gardening

Missouri Master Gardener Program

To become trained as a Master Gardener, an individual must attend a 30 hour classroom core training course. Master Gardener trainees are asked to give 30 hours of volunteer service back to their community in approved MU Extension activities such as workshops for school and community groups, farmer's market information booths, or answering horticulture hotline questions. Trainings are offered in the spring or fall in most counties throughout the state.

Missouri Master Gardener Association
Statewide association of Master Gardener clubs across Missouri

MU Extension Soil Testing Laboratory
MU Extension offices across the state accept soil samples for analysis, and horticulture specialists located in county offices can advise you on amending your soil based on the test results. Contact your local MU Extension office ( for soil testing help.

Missouri Environment and Garden newsletter (

Gardens for Every Body
Gardening tips for persons with disabilities or chronic health conditions

MU Extension publications:

Community Gardening

MU Extension publications:

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education - MU Extension
Index of resources

Community Garden — A Review of the Research Literature (PDF)
Summary of literature including evaluation, health promotion, nutrition, social networks and connectedness, community development, and social justice, and the politics of land use.

Food preparation and preservation

MU Extension — Food resources
Comprehensive list of food publications from MU Extension. Use the left-hand navigation to get to the preparation and preservation publications.

National Center for Home Food Preservation
Information and publications about preserving food at home from the University of Georgia

eXtension Food Safety Resources (

MissouriFamilies: Food Safety (

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

Regional partners and markets: Tier 2

Moving food to institutions

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)

Food safety

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