Community Food Systems

The Community Food System Program promotes thriving, just and resilient place-based food systems. We support community organizations, Tribal partners, local governments, small-scale farms and food businesses, and community gardens. For the statewide UW-Madison Extension Community Food Systems Program and list of events, visit

What is a community food system?

“A healthy, sustainable food system emphasizes, strengthens, and makes visible the interdependent and inseparable relationships between individual sectors (from production to waste disposal) and characteristics (health-promoting, sustainable, resilient, diverse, fair, economically balanced, and transparent) of the system.” (from Healthy, Sustainable Food System Collaboration, June 2010

What makes up a community food system?



“A food system includes everything from farm to table. A community food system is a food system in which food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place.” (from Healthy, Sustainable Food System Collaboration, June 2010

Dane County Food System

Food systems education and how community members can support these causes.

Dane County Food Access

Resources and access to healthy, local, and culturally relevant food.

Food & Farm Businesses

Education and support for food producers and small food-based businesses.

Planning & Policy

An important way to support and improve the local food system is through developing policies and plans that promote practices and values of a strong, resilient food system.

Organizations & Resources

We are fortunate to have many organizations throughout Dane County working on food system issues. Learn more about their activities and how to connect with them.

Meet The Educator

Jess Guffey Calkins (she/her), Community Food Systems Educator

Jess addresses food access and food system sustainability needs by providing and coordinating educational programming, building partnerships, and advancing policy to strengthen the local food system.

Food Policy & Planning– with the Dane County Food Council, a Dane County Board committee working towards an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable local food system.

Food Sovereignty & Justice – support and education for community gardeners (via the Gardens Network); food access and grower support through the Double Dollars program.

Food Entrepreneurship & Local Market Development – support and education for food producers and small food-based businesses.

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