Local Food Systems and Food Justice



Local Food Systems


2:48 Laura explains the mission at The Center for Regional Food Systems

3:16 What is the Food and Community project?

9:43 The importance of creating local food systems

12:30 Laura defines food justice and sovereignty

15:30 What motivates Laura?

17:52 New Partners Pre-Conference Food System Activities

20:55 Learn more about The Center for Regional Food Systems

21:40 The one change Laura would like to see to lead to better food systems

22:34 Actions that listeners can take to build a more sustainable food future

22:53 30 years from now: how Laura sees the future of food systems


The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) engages the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in developing regionally integrated, sustainable food systems. CRFS extends MSU’s pioneering legacy of applied research, education and outreach by catalyzing collaboration among the diverse range of people, processes and places involved in regional food systems. Our vision is a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for Michigan, the country and the planet through food systems rooted in local regions and centered on food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable.

Laura Goddeeris, AICP, is a Specialist at CRFS and coordinates outreach engaging national organizations in improving food systems and community environments, linking ground-level efforts and national stakeholders to inform policy and systems change. She is particularly focused on exploring opportunities for local governments to support regional food systems. As a part of this work, she has partnered with the Local Government Commission to develop a series of pre-conference workshops on healthy, equitable food systems in conjunction with the annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference. Laura’s background includes more than a decade of experience in research, outreach, and program administration around issues of economic development, community and social equity, and transportation planning, much of it within the context of food systems. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a graduate of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy Emerging Leaders Program.


“Access to good food, food that’s healthy, green, fair and affordable, I think it’s also important to note culturally appropriate, really should be a basic human right that is available to all of us regardless of differences in race, in gender, in ethnicity, in class, all of those things. But the idea of food justice exists because there are all these structural inequities in our food system that impede that access and they are often tied to those differences. So, I see food justice as a lens that we can apply to our efforts to work toward more equitable systems. Food Sovereignty refers to the idea that communities hold the power to determine what a just food system looks like. And I think you will most often hear about that in the context of communities that have been disenfranchised by the food system in the past.”

“I think it’s important for communities to try and foster conversations about what people need and want in their community. I don’t think there is a one size fits all approach for how to incorporate, even just urban agriculture in all cities, it’s really place specific and as you mentioned before, the shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy, think about how that has played out in Detroit and now you have this urban agriculture movement, but some people don’t want to see a city like that shift back in that direction, but some people think its great. So, we really need to continue to have some dialogue about what are the needs and what are the opportunities.”

“I was realizing how food systems really drew, or cut across a lot of areas that were interesting to me, including community development and economic development and also environmental issues and sustainability and so any time I had the freedom to pick an area to do more research in, it was always food systems, even though that wasn’t a focus of my program’s curriculum.”


Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems on Facebook

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems on Twitter

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference 3rd Annual Preconference Workshop: Intention and Innovation towards Healthy, Equitable Food Systems

Local Government Commission


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