CLRFS Leadership Team

North Central Region

  • Jill Clark, Ohio State University

  • Kathryn Draeger, University of Minnesota

  • Carrie Edgar, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension

  • Mary Hendrickson, University of Missouri

  • Casey Hoy, Ohio State University

  • Sharon Lezberg, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension

  • Helene Murray, University of Minnesota

  • Rich Pirog, Michigan State

  • Samuel Pratsch, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension

  • Brian Raison, Ohio State University

  • Greg Schweser, University of Minnesota

  • Melissa Stewart, West Virginia State University

  • Kendra Wills,  Michigan State Cooperative Extension


North East Region

  • Molly Anderson,

An Introduction to Community, Local & Regional Food Systems

Welcome to Community, Local and Regional Food Systems (CLRFS)

Community, local and regional food systems are increasingly important to individuals, families, businesses, and communities for a number of health, economic, and educational reasons.  Interest in issues related to community, local and regional food systems has therefore exploded of late, and government agencies, universities, Extension services, nonprofit organizations, and entrepreneurial groups are generating new information, as well as seeking information, on the wide range of topics encompassed within this food systems …

Carrie Edgar, University of Wisconsin Extension

Carrie Edgar is Department Head & Community Food Systems Educator for Dane County UW-Extension.  Her work focuses on food systems and community capacity building.  Her experience includes farm to school, grower education, and school & community garden development. Carrie staffs the Dane County Food Council and is a member of the Madison Food Policy Council. Carrie started the Dane County Food Coalition to bring together food system organizations to develop a shared vision and work more collaboratively. She has a …

Matt Benson, USDA


Matt Benson is a Program Analyst at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) working on its Farm to School Program. He is housed within the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS). Matt is responsible for managing OCFSs research and evaluation portfolio including the Farm to School Census and tracking impacts of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. Prior to joining the USDA, Matt finished his PhD at Virginia Tech majoring in Agricultural …

Lauren Gwin, Oregon State University

Lauren Gwin is an Assistant Professor and Extension Food Systems Specialist at Oregon State University, and the Associate Director of the OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems. Her work focuses on policy and regulations, small-scale processing, and distribution and marketing within local and regional food systems. She co-founded and coordinates the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, an eXtension Community of Practice. Her Ph.D. is in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, from the University of California, Berkeley. …

Sharon Lezberg, University of Wisconsin

Sharon Lezberg, PhD, is the Community, Natural Resources, and Economic Development (CNRED) Educator at Dane County UW-Extension (Madison, WI). Her primary areas of focus are: organizational, leadership, and community development; community economic development; food systems; and natural resources. Previously, Lezberg worked as an Associate Scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on research and outreach projects addressing community, local and regional food systems (food security/food access wtihin local food systems), bioenergy training, women in sustainable agriculture, and on-farm environmental management planning. …

Brian Raison, The Ohio State University

Brian Raison serves as an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University with over 17 years in the Department of Extension. His specializations are in Organizational Development (process facilitation; strategic planning; vision-mission; co-op and non-profit assistance) and Community Wellness (local food systems; individual and community health; building networks). He holds a BS from OSU’s Fisher College of Business, a MA in Sociology from Ohio University, and a PhD in Agricultural Extension Education from Ohio State. He also volunteers with several faith-based …

Kim Niewolny, Assocaite Professor at Virginia Tech

Kim Niewolny

Kim Niewolny is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her scholarship centers on the role of power and equity in community education and development praxis with a specific focus on social justice and food systems. Her work is grounded in asset-based community development; critical pedagogy, action research; and narrative inquiry. Current funded initiatives emphasize the political praxis of community food work, Appalachian community

Phil D'Adamo-Damery, Virginia Tech

Phil D'Adamo-Damery

Phil D’Adamo-Damery is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, at Virginia Tech. He works for the USDA AFRI-funded Appalachian Foodshed Project. Phil’s research interests are related to the development of food systems that are more socially just and reflective of a community’s needs, assets, and culture. His dissertation research focused on narrative and affect as a means to expand our political imaginations of possible food system transformation. Phil received his B.S. degree …


This list includes areas with current content and those that are under development:

Food System Supply Chain

Food Systems Processes & Practices

Values & Concepts

  • Values in Community Food Systems
  • Definition of