The Researchers

Dr. Mary Hendrickson (Principle Investigator) has spent over a decade helping farmers find alternative markets, and supporting communities in developing local food systems. Her research and extension activities have focused on placing local food system development in the context of the changing structure of the global food system where farmers, eaters, and communities can create profitable alternatives. Dr. Hendrickson is an Assistant Professor in the University of Missouri Department of Rural Sociology.

Dr. Tom Johnson (Co-Principal Investigator) is a renowned scholar on regional economics and determining economic impacts of industries in new and creative ways.  Johnson is an Emeritus Professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs and directs the Community Policy Analysis Center (CPAC) at the University of Missouri. CPAC’s work focused on providing decision support tools to communities nationwide. CPAC recently completed studies on the economic impact of the livestock industry in Missouri, the child care sector in the state of Kansas, various proposed bio-fuel projects, and the economic impact of the University of Missouri on the City of Columbia. Johnson will oversee the analysis of the economic impact data collected through the in-depth interviews, and will help to calibrate a model of economic impacts of local/regional food systems.

 Dr. Randolph Cantrell (Co-Principal Investigator) works with the University of Nebraska Rural Initiative, which has significant interest and capacity in working with the producers and consumers of locally produced food. The Rural Initiative’s efforts in this area are led by two programs: Nebraska MarketMaker, directed by Kim Peterson (other personnel) and the Nebraska Local Foods Network, coordinated by Ms. Peterson. Nebraska MarketMaker is a free interactive web-based service that connects food producers, distributors and sellers to consumer markets, and helps entrepreneurs identify and develop new and profitable markets in order to improve the efficiency and profitability of the food system in. In this project, Cantrell will oversee the development of the consumer focus groups (with Hendrickson) and Cantrell and Peterson will recruit producers to participate in the survey and indepth interviews as well as consumers to participate in the focus groups.

 Jessica Scott (Research Assistant) is a graduate student whose reserach interests include the interconnections between agriculture, communities and the environment. Ms. Scott has a BS in Environmental Science from Metropolitan State College of Denver and is currently finishing a master’s degree in Geography at the University of Missouri.  Ms. Scott has ten years of combined environmental consulting, report writing and project management experience and serves as project manager for this project.