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REGENERATION MIDWEST: 25% of Land, People, and U.S. Political Power?

A slightly edited version of an announcement sent to three national food-and-farm listservs:
COMFOOD (Tufts Univ.)
Food Policy Networks – FPN (Johns Hopkins Univ.)
North America Food Systems Network – NAFSN (Cornell Univ.)


Here’s news from REGENERATION MIDWEST, the 1-year old initiative that is connecting 12 Midwestern states. In alphabetical order: IL IN IA KS MI MN MO NE ND OH SD WI — the Upper Mississippi watershed (more or less).

See attached newsletter, including details about:
— a grant proposal for activating a RMW presence in all 12 states and solidifying the RMW network as a whole
— the RMW meeting at next week’s MOSES Conference (Feb. 22, Lacrosse, WI) — the biggest organic farming conference in the world?
— joining the RMW listserv
— adding your name and/or organization to the list of RMW supporters
— help tweak the RMW mission statement and guide the restoration of the Earth

The power of 12 Midwestern farm states: By the numbers
For what it’s worth, here’s a few metrics showing our collective potential vis-a-vis the entire country.
(These calculations are rough-but-educated. Best to doublecheck if you want to quote them.)

— RMW Congressional Voting Bloc: 22%
The 12-state RMW territory is the home of 22% of Congress — Representatives and Senators — a very sizeable “regenerative farming” voting bloc.

— RMW Food Policy Councils (FPCs): 25% of US FPCs
Per the just-released Food Policy Council Report 2018….
I counted 91 Food Policy Councils (FPCs) in the 12-state RMW territory. Taking into account a few duplicates (straddling state lines) and the total number of FPCs in North America (including Canada), RMW FPCs are about one-quarter of total US FPCs—another indication of RMW’s potential impact.

— RMW Territory: 22% of US
Total RMW territory: 821,500 square miles
Not sure what percentage is “prime farmland” in 2019.

If you’re based in the Regeneration Midwest territory and want to get involved with an activist Midwest food-and-farm network — with potential to impact the national conversation — now’s the time. Help set the foundation stones.

I’m copying Kaare Melby on this email, Field Coordinator for the RMW network. He’s based in Minnesota and also coordinates Regenerate Minnesota.

— Debbie

Debbie Hillman
Evanston, Illinois

Regeneration Midwest newsletter — Feb. 14, 2019
From Kaare Melby

Hello Regenerators!

We have made a lot of progress over the past few weeks. Here are a few updates on projects people are working on under the RMW umbrella:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant
Over the past 2 months, a committee has come together to pursue a Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grant to fund parts of the Regeneration Midwest project. I am very pleased to announce that we have submitted a proposal to RWJF. I’ve included a short description of the proposed project at the end of this email. We don’t know if we will get the grant, and this is only the first stage in the application process. If we make it past this phase, we will have to build out more of the project details, and that will take more work and more collaborators. But for the first step, I think we have made a lot of progress! Furthermore, we would like to welcome Ann Wolf of Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation & Development as Director of this grant project, and Robert Wallace of Agroecology and Rural Economics Research Corps as Co-director.

RMW Meeting at MOSES Friday, February 22nd 7 PM – 8 PM
You are invited to a Regeneration Midwest meeting at the 2019 Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference on Friday, Feb. 22nd from 7 PM – 8 PM in room F. Ronnie Cummins will speak about the future of the regeneration movement, followed by a panel discussion with midwest regenerators including Graham Christensen, Ann Wolf, and Wil Crombie discussing ways we can connect regenerative farmers with consumers and markets in order to promote and expand regenerative agriculture and land use in the midwest.

Organizations and Individuals That Support Regeneration Midwest
So far we have 12 organizations who have signed on as officially supporting the Regeneration Midwest project. Those organizations are: MOSES, IATP, ARERC, Food Freedom Radio, The Savanna Institute, Wallace Center (Pasture Project), Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation & Development, Organic Consumers Association, Regeneration International, Regeneration Minnesota, Regenerate Illinois, and Regenerate Nebraska.

Please add your name and/or organization to our list of supporters:

Individuals: Become A Supporter of Regeneration Midwest
Organizations: Add Your Organization As A Supporter of Regeneration Midwest

Thanks for all of your support!


Kaare Melby
Field Organizer Director
Organic Consumers Association

Below is a short description of the RMW project that we have submitted to the RWJF:

Regeneration Midwest: Scaling up climate and health solutions in agricultural communities across twelve U.S. states
From climate change to pollution, declining nutrition, new diseases, rural abandonment, farmer suicides, and the opioid epidemic, industrial agriculture is helping drive key environmental and social crises across our communities.

A new approach is needed. Regenerative agriculture combines biophysical and social interventions that represent a foundational shift in how food, climate, community, population health, and health equity are produced together.

Regeneration Midwest and the Agroecology and Rural Economics Research Corps will conduct a multi-level analysis to evaluate whether already ongoing efforts in regenerative agriculture across the U.S. Midwest have improved climate mitigation and community life.

We will compare twelve counties—one per Midwest state—where regenerative agriculture is strong to twelve counties—one per state—where conventional agriculture is prevalent. We will conduct two-week site visits to each county, where we will conduct a suite of social science analyses, including focus groups and cooperative inquiries, to produce historiographies of the agriculture practiced in each county and its relationship to climate change, population health, and health equity.

By a series of ecological analyses, we will compare these on-site results to county-level demographic, environmental, economic, and population health data. We will test whether the two sets of counties—regenerative and conventional—differ in their climate mitigation and population health outcomes.