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UVM to Be Key Sponsor of Food Systems Journal

The University of Vermont is one of four new sponsors supporting the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (the Food Systems Journal), along with three other leading North American university programs focused on food systems.

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia; the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University; and the Food Systems Initiative at the University of Vermont have joined together to underwrite the expansion of the journal through a three-year commitment.

The Food Systems Journal is published by the Food Systems Development Project, a program of the Center for Transformative Action, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Cornell University. It publishes four issues a year and is online only.

“We are pushing the boundaries of what it is to be a journal,” says editor-in-chief Duncan Hilchey. “We take great pride in contributing to the nascent literature on food systems and publishing the very practical work of the growing number of researchers and writers in the field. But we want to take this to an entirely new level, and this will begin to happen now that we have the right partners in place to do it.”

The Food Systems Journal was founded in 2010 to fill the gap in the applied research literature on farming and food systems-based community development, such as regional food value chains, urban food systems, farmland protection and food sovereignty. The journal focuses on public policy, research, and practice in food systems work and emphasizes “accessible scholarship” that maximizes its usefulness in the transdisciplinary field of food systems. Authors include scholars across many academic fields, as well as food systems development practitioners such as educators, activists, and nonprofit and public agency staff. It is currently licensed by academic and institutional libraries around the world and is available free to libraries in less-developed countries.

UVM Provost David Rosowsky says the sponsorship demonstrates UVM’s continuing commitment to food systems scholarship at UVM. “This is a valuable opportunity for UVM to collaborate with other prestigious institutions that have taken leadership in food systems scholarship. Our participation in this collaboration will further support the academic quality of food systems research, teaching and outreach at UVM.”

The four financial sponsors join the Center for Transformative Action (which provides administrative support) in helping the Food Systems Journal not only expand its global reach, but also expand its impact. The journal nurtures early-career authors, provides editorial assistance to non-native English authors, and, seeking to be a meaningful source of change in food systems development, recently published more than 20 open-access commentaries from around the world on food systems research priorities for the next five years. With the support of its sponsors, the journal expects to not only expand its current distribution, but also launch new value-added activities such as producing policy and practice briefs (two-page summaries of published papers that are immediately useful in the field). Also on the drawing board is a “Senior Corps of Researchers and Educators” to leverage the talents of retired faculty and researchers in working with select limited-resource organizations in conducting program evaluations and publishing the results in theFood Systems Journal.

Doug Lantagne, director of UVM's Food Systems Initiative, sees UVM’s support of the journal as an integral piece of the university's food systems leadership. “UVM values addressing needed changes in our food systems in an integrated and collaborative manner. As a supporter of high quality academic scholarship we demonstrate our institutional land grant commitment to transdisciplinary research, teaching and outreach.”

For more information on the Food Systems Journal, the Food Systems Development Project, the Center for Transformative Action and the journal’s four sponsors, visit