Maximizing Freight Movements in Local Food Markets – Phase Two

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
December 2011
March 2012
June 2012
September 2012
March 2013
 Research Brief Final Report

Primary Investigator

Teresa M. Adams, PhD
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2204 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Dr, Madison, WI 53706
Phone (608) 263-3175, (608) 262-5318


Since our initial grant request in 2009 for work conducted in 2010-2011, regional food transportation and logistics has emerged as a central issue in food systems planning. We propose to continue our exploration of regional food supply chains, particularly in relation to aggregation, transportation, and logistics. This will help to determine where regional supply chains still exist and where they may benefit from re-investment and rebuilding. Thus far, the research has identified how the local and regional food supply and distribution system functions for three commodities in the Upper Midwest states and begins to suggest means by which local food transportation movements can become more efficient.


The proposed research builds on research conducted in 2010-2011 on moving local food via the freight transportation system. We‘ve expanded our understanding of the food system to include regional food systems issues and begun to explore freight movement in three commodities: beef, potatoes and apples. Research is concentrated in the Driftless and Central Sands regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.


  1. Partner with the Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project to refine its 2011 Cost of Distribution tool for direct-markers by developing resources for small and mid-scale direct-markers:
    • The first resource would target small-scale operations by identifying low-cost, limited infrastructure solutions to storage and hauling.
    • The second resource would target direct-marketers ready to scale up to intermediated distribution channels by developing a template that translates their cost of distribution data into an RFP for third party haulers.
  2. Build on 2010-2011 USDA AMS research and ―food hub development‖ guide by developing
    • A route-planning fact sheet or ARC Logistics Tool to complement the guide.
    • A food hub siting decision tree informed by freight/route-planning expertise.
  3. Pilot tools with small and mid-scale producers based in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin, southern Minnesota and adjoining parts of Iowa and Illinois.
  4. How can these food distribution networks provide economic development to these areas? Are there ED resources that can be leveraged to help make these changes happen?
  5. Final report

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: August 2011 – August 2012
  • Budget: $75,000 (with in-kind staffing match from the Center for Integrated Agriculture Services (CIAS) and Land Stewardship Project)
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and 1000 undergraduate hours
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail, Maritime, Air
  • Project ID: CFIRE 05-17
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