Research Opportunities in Farm to School

Thursday, October 4th
Clark A204

happy hour at Avogadro’s Number immediately following seminar
Join us to learn more about research opportunities in Farm to School from some of Colorado’s leading experts. 
  • Helen Dombalis, Senior Director of Program and Policy, National Farm to School Network
  • Wendy Peters Moschetti, Director of Food Systems, LiveWell Colorado
  • Andrea Northup, Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Alessandro Bonanno, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University
This event is jointly sponsored by the CSU Food Systems Initiative, College of Liberal Arts, College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. 


Food Systems Stakeholders Across Colorado

October 4, 2017

As Colorado’s Land-Grant University, Colorado State University must be responsive to the needs of agricultural producers, the state’s varied food industry, and consumers who are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and how it was produced. One of the ways in which CSU addresses issues raised by these groups and many others in deploying the expertise of CSU’s food systems faculty members, a group that includes a number of faculty members from departments within the College of Agricultural Sciences as well as from some of the University’s other colleges. The food systems team also works closely with several federal (USDA, FDA) and state agencies (including the Colorado departments of Agriculture and Public Health) in collaboration with CSU Extension and county agents.

Read the full article in CSU College of Agricultural Sciences Food for Thought –

Webinar: Economic Impacts of Farm to School

October 8, 2017

Watch the webinar here –

Farm to school strives to strengthen the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. In this free webinar, we will discuss the economic impacts of farm to school initiatives through a case study approach. This webinar is part of a wider effort to promote the release of the associated report “Economic Impacts of Farm to School: Case Studies and Assessment Tools” (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State University). We highlight the use of two key resources for conducting economic impact studies of food system initiatives (the USDA’s “The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices” and Cornell’s “A Practitioner’s Guide to Conducting and Economic Impact Assessment of Regional Food Hubs using IMPLAN: A Systematic Approach”) and their application to farm to school economic impact assessment. Finally, we will hear from the Food System Research Team from Colorado State University about continuing work to better understand the impacts of farm to school activities on food supply chains, educational programing, and household food purchases.

Webinar Panelists:

  • Libby Christensen – Postdoctoral Fellow, Agricultural & Resource Economics, Colorado State University
  • Christina Conell – Senior Technical Advisor, USDA, Office of Community Food Systems
  • Becca Jablonski – Assistant Professor and Extension Economist in Food Systems at Colorado State University
  • Anupama Joshi – Executive Director & Co-Founder, National Farm to School Network
  • Jeffery O’Hara – Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Local Food Research & Development, USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
  • Todd Schmit – Associate Professor, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
  • Dawn Thilmany McFadden – Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, Regional Economic Development Institute, Colorado State University

New report: Economic impacts of farm to school

September 29, 2017

Farm to school offers cross-sectoral benefits for children, farmers and communities, however, limited data is available to truly understand the economic impacts of farm to school procurement. Using a survey and case study approach, this report (a collaborative project of the National Farm to School Network and Colorado State University) examines the economic impact of local purchasing and provides new insight into the potential for farm to school procurement to positively impact local economies.

The report finds that not only were surveyed farmers satisfied or very satisfied with most aspects of farm to school sales, but farm to school farms purchase more inputs from the local economy, which results in positive local economic impact. Importantly, this report also offers a widely adaptable survey and analysis protocol for performing farm to school economic impact assessments in order to support and encourage more rigorous research that will continue to build the economic case for farm to school.

Find the full report here –

University invests $1 million in interdisciplinary research teams

September 12, 2017

By Lauren Klamm

Five interdisciplinary teams of researchers from across the colleges of Colorado State University will be collaborating on some of the world’s most pressing global problems as part of the Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships initiative. The Office of the Vice President of Research launched the CIP initiative in 2015 and has now chosen its second cohort.

The program seeks to build multidisciplinary research teams that will forge partnerships to pursue new opportunities for translating discoveries into practice.

“The first class was a resounding success with new team formation and over $16 million raised with significant scholarly outputs,” said Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph.

The second class of teams will be seeded with up to $200,000 each. They will be provided infrastructural support by the university to nurture the creation and delivery of solutions in disease transmission, healthy aging, food systems, biomolecular imaging and biosecurity.

“This unique program provides support for teams pursuing big ideas and creates uncommon collaborations for funding interdisciplinary and disciplinary depth,” said Rudolph. “The OVPR is pleased to be part of the new catalyst teams’ future success.”

2017-19 Catalyst for Innovative Partnership Teams

TerraForma: Simulating Reality in Artificial Ecosystems

To understand diseases better, this team will look at creating artificial ecosystems or “worlds-in-a-bottle” to evaluate and control the role of environmental changes in the transmission of animal and plant pathogens.

Colleges represented: College of Agricultural SciencesCollege of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical SciencesWalter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

Other partners represented: Office of the Vice President for Research

Enriched Environments for the Healthy, Aging Brain

This team will provide one of the only large-scale, transdisciplinary assessments of non-pharmacological intervention in the U.S. for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Colleges represented: College of Natural SciencesCollege of Health and Human SciencesCollege of Liberal Arts

Other partners represented: Blue Penguin

Securing Life Science Infrastructures

This team will examine the adoption of security policies that protect life-science infrastructures from exposure to biological agents that can compromise human health, food supplies, or natural resources.

Colleges Represented: College of BusinessCollege of Liberal ArtsCollege of Natural SciencesCollege of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical SciencesWalter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Other partners represented: Merrick & CoInspirion BiosciencesVirginia Tech

TagTeam: New Molecular Tags for In Vivo Imaging and Editing

To better facilitate future basic and applied research that depends on the imaging or editing of specific molecules inside living cells; this team will produce new reliable molecular tools to “click” biomolecules together.

Colleges represented: College of Natural SciencesCollege of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical SciencesWalter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Rural Wealth Creation: Exploring food systems-led development strategies

The project seeks to understand how food system strategies can contribute to social, cultural, human, political, physical, natural, and financial capital in rural communities.

Colleges represented: College of Agricultural SciencesCollege of Health and Human SciencesCollege of Liberal ArtsCollege of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical SciencesWalter Scott, Jr. College of EngineeringWarner College of Natural Resources

Learn more about your business with help from CSU students

Learn more about your business with help from CSU students

August 31, 2017

Are you a business in food, drink or agriculture?  Do you want a FREE analysis of your business from marketing to market access, lowering costs and improving performance AND support CSU students working towards their Agribusiness degree.

Agribusiness management – is the capstone course taken by all students majoring in the Agribusiness program at Colorado State. The students in AREC428 must work closely with a business operating in the Agribusiness sector to provide an in-depth analysis of the current business marketing, financial and strategic position. Furthermore, the students will undertake a feasibility study to assess one or more potential opportunities for the business to improve its performances, finding new markets, lower costs, undertake new investments etc.

For the completion of the capstone project in all its part the team need to have access to some financial data and marketing information about the company. All the data received will be treated confidentially (see attached Memorandum of Understanding). The instructor and the TA for the class may see part of the information, as it is pertinent to assignments and the project report. The students will present some of their findings to the rest of the class – however any sensitive information can be omitted from the presentations, if the business manager / contact prefers so.

For additional information please contact the instructor of the course Alessandro Bonanno at

Bennet and Gardner announce $500,000 grant for CSU

May 16, 2017

By Jennifer Dimas

Photo of dining hall fruit and vegetable bar

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner today announced that Colorado State University has received $499,420 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct the first national evaluation of the Farm to School program. The grant is part of a $17.9 million investment from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to improve sustainable agriculture and help rural communities thrive. The project will be led by Alessandro Bonanno and Becca Jablonski, both faculty in CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“We congratulate Colorado State University on receiving this grant to evaluate the Farm to School program,” Bennet said. “Not only does this grant recognize the program’s innovative approach, it also will lead to long-term improvements to local food systems to support Colorado’s rural communities. This funding, which was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, will evaluate the Farm to School program and help improve sustainable agriculture.”

“As a Coloradan who was born and raised on the Eastern Plains, I know firsthand that our rural communities have been struggling for far too long,” Gardner said. “I’m pleased this funding will be used to boost rural Colorado and our agriculture industry as low commodity prices have had a real impact on rural America. I’ll continue to fight for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers at the federal level.”

“School lunch programs represent an opportunity not just to ensure that our children have enough to eat, but also to educate them about healthy food choices and agriculture,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “Farm to school programs represent an additional opportunity to leverage the almost $13 billion federal dollars spent annually to support farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and regional economies. This grant will allow us to bring Colorado State University expertise to conduct the first national evaluation of the impact that farm to school programs on rural communities and economies, food waste, and household food purchases.”

Farm to School is a program through which schools source locally produced food to serve on their lunch menus. It also includes nutritional education and experiential learning, such as maintaining a school garden. Farm to School creates economic opportunities for rural communities, U.S. agriculture, and food supply chain businesses, and improves the health and well-being of children and families.

30.5 million students

Nearly 100,000 schools across the United States serve school lunches to 30.5 million students each day, using nearly 13 billion annual federal dollars. As of 2014, 42,587 schools reported participating in Farm to School.  However, there has been little national research to assess the effectiveness of the program. This grant will fund the first national research and evaluation of Farm to School.

NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program

The funding for this grant is made possible through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The AFRI is United States’ flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The AFRI program area of Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities (AERC) supports projects that improve agricultural sustainability, protect the environment, enhance quality of life for rural communities, and alleviate poverty.