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August 03, 2017

CEI Contributes to New Federal Reserve Publication on the Power of Food System Investments to Transform Communities

August 3, 2017 – The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agencies of Rural Development and the Agricultural Marketing Service, has 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. CEI’s Gray Harris (Senior Program Director, Natural Resource Sectors) was selected to be on the national advisory council that shaped the content and structure of the publication, and co-authored a chapter, as did Daniel Wallace (Loan and Investment Officer), and CEI’s founder and former CEO Ron Phillips. CEI’s aquaculture and fisheries team contributed content as well. The intention of the publication is to spur conversations and action to increase investments in regional food systems.

“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 investment opportunities 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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