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There are a growing number and impressive variety of initiatives seeking to cultivate healthy and resilient food systems in the Northeast, but much of it is disconnected or uncoordinated, resulting in duplication of effort and competition for resources. At the same time, increasingly erratic and challenging economic, social and environmental conditions require greater adaptive capacity and innovation across multiple scales.

A wealth of useful assets already exist within and beyond our region, including publicly available data and practitioner knowledge. But accessing, sharing and using these disparate and sometimes siloed resources can be difficult. Information technology, systems based approaches, and networked strategies can connect people and improve information flow in support of shared food system outcomes. Successful methods and models could be shared, adapted and scaled more readily. Practitioners would be better connected to each other and to the work of researchers and educators. Funders and investors would be more informed and able to make strategic, coordinated, long term investments in local and regional food systems. NEFKE is a collaborative approach to addressing these needs and opportunities.