From national and state programs and initiatives, a suite of food system indicators is emerging that will contribute to tracking our food system status and progress. From qualitative to quantitative analysis, capturing where we are and where we are going will inform collective strategies.
While comprehensive food system indicators will require data from very diverse sources, some examples of readily available data include the following. The US Census of Agriculture data has detailed information at the state and national level, while the USDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track a number of food access and diet and health related indicators. A number of sources have data on jobs, income, and wealth. As the region identifies common indicators that may serve to inform our work, FSNE recognizes that the state work spearheaded by the VSJF’s Vermont Farm to Plate Initiative offers one resource to review and identify common metrics for all six New England states. Likewise, metrics shared in the design of A New England Food Vision can be utilized to monitor and influence food system policy and practice. As our regional FSNE matures, we anticipate greater depth and breadth embedded in our commitment to identifying and tracking common metrics, as well as vehicles that can best share these metrics regionally.