Local Food Research and Development


The Local and Regional Foods Division (LRFD) works to improve market access for producers and develop new markets through its three main roles as a researcher, a convener, and a technical assistance provider. In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) vision, local food producers, markets, and communities have easy access to ideas, innovations, and research in order to grow and sustain a productive business. This information ensures that opportunities for U.S. food producers are readily available and communities are equipped to successfully grow and sell regionally produced foods, while also supporting increased access to locally produced foods.

The USDA Local and Regional Food Systems Resource Guide (pdf) offers a comprehensive summary of USDA programs that support local and regional food systems.

Researcher and Data Provider

LRFD’s goal is to explore common challenges that local and regional food system stakeholders face by providing research and data that supports market access and transparency. As a researcher, LRFD works with USDA agencies and external partners to explore challenges and opportunities related to market access and development in the local and regional food system community.

Technical Assistance Provider

As a technical assistance provider, LRFD works to share learnings from research, USDA Regional Food Business Centers, and grant recipients with all interested stakeholders, including grant recipients, farmers market managers, producers, and academia.


As a convener, LRFD seeks to provide access to the most relevant and up-to-date information available on local and regional food systems. The team acts as a central node for networks to collaborate across the local and regional food system sector. LRFD offers a platform to unify and amplify the work being done at the local and regional levels.

Resources and Services