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The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems works with partners across the country to create standalone reports, issue briefs, and other resources for food system stakeholders. Browse the list of standalone reports below, and visit our projects page to learn more about our ongoing projects that encompass a wider range of resources. 

report coverLand-Use Tools to Protect Pollinators: Current Approaches and Potential Pathways

The more we come to understand the role of pollinators, the more it becomes clear that our current mode of existence is incompatible with a healthy pollinator population.  View the brief »

report coverAppealing for Relief: An Analysis of Appealed Direct Farm Loan Decisions 2009-2022 and Opportunities for Reform

Appealing for Relief: An Analysis of Appealed Direct Farm Loan Decisions 2009-2022 and Opportunities for Reform analyzes USDA National Appeals Division cases concerning direct farm ownership and farm operating loans.  View the report »

report coverBuilding Resilient Local Meat Supply Chains: How On-Farm Slaughter Fits into the Federal Meat Inspection Act

On-farm slaughter is a central component of a localized, resilient food system for small-scale farmers and their communities. This report examines how federal and state meat inspection laws have exempted on-farm slaughter practices, and what more can be done to support these operations. View the report »

report coverThe State of Prison Food in New England: A Survey of Federal and State Policy

Developed in partnership with Farm to Institution New England (FINE), this report examines the laws and policies that shape food in New England’s publicly operated correctional facilities. It offers recommendations for advocates and policymakers to ensure nutritious and safe meals while improving how prison food is sourced and served. View the report »

report coverEnergy and Equity in Cannabis Cultivation

As cannabis is legalized in more US states, policies are needed to improve the sustainability of energy-intensive indoor cultivation. This report from the Farm and Energy initiative, a join project of CAFS and the Institute for Energy and the Environment, focuses on the social equity impacts of regulating energy consumption in the cannabis industry. View the report »

report coverManaged Rotational Grazing Policies: An Overview of Farm Bill Programs to Support Regenerative Agriculture

Facing an accelerating climate crisis, many livestock farmers are seeking a system of management that supports their livelihoods while protecting climate and food system resilience. This report explores how farm bill programs can be leveraged to encourage managed rotational grazing, a system of livestock management that is a more climate-friendly alternative to industrial forms of livestock production. View the report »

report coverLocal Policy to Promote Healthy Food Access: A Food Systems Framework

This newly-updated resource from the Healthy Food Policy Project can help policymakers, leaders, advocates, researchers, and others understand the range of policy options for communities seeking to increase access to healthy food. View the resource »

report coverWhat is "Healthy" Food? Regulating Health Claims on Food Product Labels

As FDA considers redefining the term "healthy" to make it align with current nutrition science and the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this brief explores the controversial use of "healthy" claims on food product labels. View the brief »

Cover of the Cell Cultured Meat briefWhat's the Beef? Debates Over Cell-Cultured Meat

As cell-cultured or “lab-grown” meats come closer to hitting grocery store shelves, federal and state regulators are facing questions about how these products should be labeled. This issue brief from the Labels Unwrapped project breaks down the debates. View the brief »

Cover of the Exposed and at Risk ReportExposed and At Risk: Opportunities to Strengthen Enforcement of Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety 

The second report from the Food System Worker Law and Policy Project, “Exposed and At Risk” determines that even existing regulations for pesticide safety are often underenforced. In partnership with Farmworker Justice, this report aims to prompt law and policy solutions formulated with the lived experience of farmworkers in mind. View the report »

Headshots of the summer internsRethinking Manure Biogas: Policy Considerations to Promote Equity and Protect the Climate and Environment 

Is converting animal waste into fuel, known as manure biogas, the solution to the approximately 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture globally? Some may think so—but relying on manure biogas systems on factory farms to combat climate change ignores very real consequences these systems have to the environment and the communities in which they are housed, while doubling down on the system of factory farming that is responsible for the underlying emissions. This report analyzes the role that manure biogas plays in a climate mitigation strategy, specifically tackling its environmental justice impacts and how policymakers can ensure an effective and equitable climate future. View the report »

Towards Equitable and Just Food SystemsTowards Equitable and Just Food Systems: Exploring Food Justice, Food Sovereignty, and Ending Food Apartheid Policy & Practice 

This new report from the Healthy Food Policy Project delves deep into terms and frameworks for discussing equitable food systems such as food justice, food sovereignty, and food apartheid. As terminology describing equitable food systems adapts and evolves, it is more important than ever to think about what these terms mean and how they should be used in different contexts, including in policy. This report includes definitions of common terms, policy examples, and additional resources for individual and group learning.  View the report »

Headshots of the summer internsAddressing Consolidation in Agriculture: USDA’s Response to President Biden’s Directive to Promote Competition in the American Economy 

President Biden’s Executive Order in July 2021 encouraged USDA to address issues of consolidation in the agriculture industry that have hampered competition and unfairly discriminated against certain producers. This analysis outlines the requirements included in President Biden’s Executive Order, the United States Department of Agriculture’s response to Biden’s directive thus far, and some recommendations for how the agency could expand its regulatory impact to promote competition within the sector. View the report »

Headshots of the summer internsSeafood Fraud: Analysis of Legal Approaches in the United States

Among types of food fraud, seafood fraud is prolific—and distinct in its implications for natural resource management. Currently, there is no single authority that regulates seafood in the United States, resulting in a patchwork approach that simultaneously provides opportunities for specialized expertise while also allowing for significant gaps in enforcement. This report examines how the United States currently regulates seafood and makes recommendations for policymakers to address the issue of seafood fraud both domestically and abroad.
View the report »​​​​​​

report coverEssentially Unprotected: A Focus on Farmworker Health Laws and Policies Addressing Pesticide Exposure and Heat-Related Illness

This report explores gaps in U.S. laws and policies that put farmworkers at risk. It draws from a survey of federal and state laws, specifically focusing on those that affect two of farmworkers’ most critical workplace hazards: pesticide exposure and heat-related illness, and offers recommendations for policies that are urgently needed to protect farmworkers. View the report »​​​​​​

Headshots of the summer internsDefining Local Food: An Analysis of State Approaches and Challenges

“Local” is frequently used to describe food in both the law and the marketplace—but the term remains largely undefined. And when it comes to local food legislation, that vagueness can make it difficult to meet policy goals and evaluate impacts. This report examines the term “local” from a legal perspective. It also draws from a nationwide scan of state policies to compare different approaches to defining the term. We hope it will be useful to policymakers, researchers, and advocates who are involved in creating or evaluating local food legislation.  View the report »​​​​​​

report coverBlueprint for a National Food Strategy

The Blueprint for a National Food Strategy examines the need for a cohesive national approach to food system regulation through legal and scholarly research. The project's latest report, published in 2020, provides a roadmap for the adoption of national food strategy in order to ensure a food secure future for all Americans.  Read more »​​​​​​

report coverDefining and Regulating Agritourism

While many of us have a vague idea of what agritourism means, there’s no standard legal definition—and policies are evolving quickly. That’s why CAFS released a report comparing state agritourism laws across the country and identifying legislative trends. The goal is to assist policymakers in drafting effective agritourism legislation addressing key areas like liability, zoning, fundings, taxation, and licensing.  Read more »​​​​​​

report coverFood Systems Resilience: Concepts and Policy Approaches

The Food Systems Resilience project conducts policy research to strengthen food systems against climate change and other hazards. This report aims to help advocates and policymakers to develop and adopt policies that foster resilience within their own food systems, or to complement efforts they are already undertaking. Read more »​​​​​​