DR. REBECCA JABLONSKI
Becca Jablonski is an assistant professor and food systems economist at Colorado State University, and co-lead of CSU’s Food Systems Initiative.
The Food Systems Initiative bridges research, extension and education to identify and inform opportunities to bridge how the production, supply chains, and eaters respond to changing markets, policy, and environment. As part of the Initiative, we focus on training, influencing, and communicating opportunities to connect food related roles in achieving healthy communities, economies, and individuals.
“Many faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences, as well as from five other colleges have been working to evaluate what types of urban food policies, programs and initiatives support farmers, ranchers, regional communities and economies,” says Jablonski. “We have been working to take a systems approach, looking at economic, social, and environmental impacts and tradeoffs. As part of this research and engaged work we have been working with the City and County of Denver as they are currently considering adopting the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), a values-based procurement policy, for their institutional procurement.”
Founded in 2012, the GFPP ‘provides a metric-based, flexible framework that encourages large institutions to direct their buying power toward five core values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition.’
Through the CSU-Denver collaboration, the coalition considering the GFPP has been expanded and diversified. A grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Foundation (FFAR) enabled CSU to work with the City and County of Denver to hire the City’s first Institutional Food Program Administrator. CSU has worked with the Administrator to expand the coalition to include not just Denver-based stakeholders, but also farmers and ranchers from rural parts of the state who would be impacted by these policy changes.
Jablonski states, “Though the coalition’s conversations can be challenging at times, ultimately I think Denver will end up with food policies that have a more positive impact on a broader number of stakeholders. I’m really excited that we’ve been able to play a role in increasing diverse participation in these conversations and helping to bridge gaps.”