Local Food Research & Development

The Marketing Services Division (MSD) 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 USDA’s 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.

Researcher and Data Provider

MSD’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, MSD 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, MSD works to share learnings from its research and grantees with all interested stakeholders, including grantees, farmers market managers, producers, and academia.


As a convener, MSD 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. MSD offers a platform to unify and amplify the work being done at the local and regional levels.

Current Resources and Services

Contact Information

Main Office

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
Transportation and Marketing Programs
Marketing Services Division
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Room 4509-S, Stop 0269
Washington, DC 20250-0269
Phone: 202.720.8326
Fax: 202.690.0031

Ken Keck, Director

Christina Conell, Deputy Director