In developing our vision and mission statements, we value the following:

Empowerment/Self-determination/Food sovereignty

Attributes of the concept: Including the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies, and/or the democratization of food and agriculture.


Attributes of the concept: People having opportunities to engage as independent owners and managers in economic activities that provide for livelihoods, produce products and services, and exercise self-determination.

Health and well-being

Attributes of the concept: People being free of chronic and acute conditions that would interfere with an active and productive life, and having good prospects for living long lives free of pain and debilitating conditions.


Attributes of the concept: People having equal access to social and material resources that enable them to live lives defined as good and adequate by contemporary standards and reasonably augmented by rewards for manifested effort and ingenuity, as well as being accorded social recognition and esteem appropriate for the kind of persons they are and their efforts to be productive members of society.

Inclusion of diverse stakeholders

Attributes of the concept: Authentic and empowered participation and a true sense of belonging. More than simply diversity and numerical representation.


Attributes of the concept: People managing local ecosystems in ways that result in benefits to local people, preserve and enhance ecosystem integrity, and maintain the potential for continued productivity.


Attributes of the concept: Having social networks in a locality characterized by cooperative and mutually supporting social relationships, by conceptions of shared fate and identities, and by addressing challenges and opportunities in ways that are both collaborative and equitably allocate the costs and benefits of any actions pursued.


Attributes of the concept: Prioritizing nearby geographic areas in allocating benefits of activities and in decision-making control (principle of subsidiarity).


Based on these guiding values, the Lyson Center aspires to the following vision:


A growing number/network of communities throughout North America committed to improving the health and well-being of their residents, the diverse participation in equitable food systems, the long-term stewardship of local natural resources, and the viability of local and regionally oriented food and farm businesses.

To achieve this vision, the Lyson Center is committed to the following mission:


To provide practical research-based information, tools, programs and services that lead to productive collaboration between food systems scholars, professionals, and active residents engaged in food systems development work at the community level. 

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