crafting a better food system

The Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation at Chatham University works to transform the future of food and agriculture in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. 

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our vision

CRAFT provides resources, learning opportunities, and technical assistance on food systems, regional food cultures, and sustainable economies to individuals, organizations, and businesses. CRAFT serves as a home for food systems information and data at the regional level, creating a network for research, education, and outreach on sustainable food.

The team at CRAFT offers support, knowledge coordination, skills development, and visibility for collaborative projects that advance the social and economic health of our region through better food systems. We address questions such as: How can we create conditions that provide long term place-based benefits for people? What transformations are possible for producers, consumers, citizens, and the places they inhabit? How can we remove barriers to skills and knowledge to create better opportunities for new workers in a better food economy?

CRAFT is affiliated with Chatham University, specifically the Food Studies program and the Falk School of Sustainability. Chatham University has been at the forefront of sustainable solutions with its green innovation on three campuses and a singular focus on living sustainably at the 400 acre Eden Hall campus.

Chatham University's Eden Hall Campus

Chatham University's Eden Hall Campus

Our Mission:

Collect and share research on regional food systems

Provide resources for advocates, practitioners, and policy makers

Communicate information supporting global recognition of regional food systems

Coordinate and support collaborative stakeholder activities and outreach 

Educate, train, and support skilled workers necessary for a transformative food system 

H.J. Heinz Company, Hot Dawg. Post-war advertisement for Heinz Ketchup

H.J. Heinz Company, Hot Dawg. Post-war advertisement for Heinz Ketchup

Why Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh has always been a food innovation town. One of the world's first and biggest brands began in 1860, with Heinz, who created a unique glass canning technique and brought locally made pickles and ketchup to a national and global marketplace.

But Pittsburgh's brand innovation in food also included Italian-American specialties, candy, whiskey, beer, tuna, and sardines! Eastern European staples like pierogis have become the emblematic food of all residents, and neighborhoods boast Indian, Asian, Italian, and German food enclaves. Dairy farms, sustainable agriculture, and urban growing all dot the region.

With both an applied and academic focus on sustainability, the city and its educational institutions have an eye towards a better “food future” built now.