The Sustainable Food and Farming Systems Focus Team

The Sustainable Food and Farming Systems Focus Teamwas formed in October 1999 to develop programs to help small-scale farmers and rural communities survive and prosper. The 26-member Focus Team and 24-member advisory council are made up of individual farmers, Extension and University representatives, and members of farm organizations, state agencies, and environmental groups. The team is coordinated by a Leadership Council, rather than an individual Chair. The Leadership Council of the Focus Team represents a partnership among the following programs: Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture Program, Food Circles Networking Project, Missouri Department of Agriculture, and Lincoln University's Small Farm Family Program.

Commenting on the Team, Dean Payne, of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources stated that "The sustainability of Missouri's agriculture is a priority. This fact calls for added emphasis under the current farming crisis. The newly formed Sustainable Food and Farming Systems Focus Team will provide that emphasis." Ron Turner, University of Missouri executive vice-president and director of Outreach and Extension added, "Sustainable farming has become a crucial area of interest to many Missourians. This focus team demonstrates the university's strong commitment to Missouri farmers and rural communities, as well as to consumers and the environment."

The Sustainable Food and Farming Systems Focus team is currently working through three committees: Marketing, Research/Producer, and Social Consumer. These committees mirror the three 'legs' of sustainable systems that strive to be economically viable, ecologoically sound, and socially responsible.

The Sustainable Food and Farming Systems Focus Team has evolved to a two bodies of advice and deliberation for the new Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture (CFSSA) Program. Those are: the Cooperation and Participation (Stakeholders) Advisory Board and the Program and Long Term Coordination Board.

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