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ABOUT New Leaf

New Leaf Publishing and Consulting provides research, publishing, data analysis and technical services to farm and food organizations, agencies and businesses across North America.

We specialize in regional food system and agriculture development — from simple assessments and evaluations of local supply chains, to our specialty crop agriculture industry cluster retention and expansion program (ACRETM) — a new program based on our work in the Concord Grape Belt of western New York and Pennsylvania.

New Leaf's flagship publication is the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. JAFSCD is an online, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on applied research and on the practice of local food systems and agriculture development. While targeting the needs and interests of practitioners, it also serves as a publishing vehicle for students and other academics.

To learn more about JAFSCD and its submission guidelines, go to

Duncan Hilchey

Lecture Duncan at Changemakers

Duncan has been working in food systems and agriculture development for over 30 years. He has a unique set of skills that include farm and food business counseling, agriculture economic development, city and regional planning, research, and organizational development. He has traveled throughout the U.S. on research, consulting, and speaking engagements. Recent speaking engagements include the National Trust for Historic Preservation annual conference, the Chautauqua Institution, and Slow Food's National Changemakers Conference. In 2008, Duncan was nominated for the Glynwood Harvest Awards, a national award honoring farmers, organizations, and businesses across the United States for innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems.

With funding from the National Geographic Society, the Kellogg Foundation, and the New York Agriculture Experiment Station, his most recent work has focused on GIS mapping of local food systems, studying agricultural heritage areas, and developing local food system sustainability indicators. He is an authority on regional identity and recently had a paper published by the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation entitled "Gôut de Terroir (Taste of Place): Exploring the Boundaries of Unique Agricultural Landscapes."

Current consulting projects include a hospital-based farm, an evaluation of a rural-based local foods project, a food co-op interested in only offering local foods, and a regional agritourism project associated with a state park.

Duncan grew up in Alabama and received a BS in agricultural education from the University of New Hampshire and a masters in regional planning from Cornell University.

Amy Christian

Amy Christian

Amy is the managing editor of New Leaf's publishing products. She has provided writing, editing, and production for nonprofits and others for many years. Her experience includes editing research reports, case studies, training curricula, presentations, website content and marketing materials. She worked on homeownership issues for NeighborWorks America for five years and was production assistant and network manager for American Demographics magazine for nine years.

Amy attended Wellesley College and holds a BS in human service planning from Cornell University.

Consulting Philosophy

Our approach to consulting is to:

  • Offer value for our clients
  • Provide impartial, independent advice
  • Accept only those client engagements that we are qualified to perform
  • Develop realistic and practical solutions to client problems
  • Safeguard confidential information

This approach is adapted from the code of ethics prepared by the Institute of Management Consultants (USA).

We frown on canned solutions and prefer to take on projects that utilize our creativity and are customized to the particular needs and circumstances of our client. We strongly encourage agriculture and food system development that is vision-driven as opposed to problem-driven.

PROBLEM-Driven Projects

  • Goals defined by problems
  • Treats symptoms
  • Deals with separate pieces of complex systems
  • Piecemeal solutions create new problems
  • Experts on TOP
  • Too many cooks spoil the broth
  • Focus on economics

VISION-Driven Projects

  • Goals defined by shared values
  • Treats root causes
  • Deals with whole complex systems of interacting parts
  • Builds synergies within whole systems
  • Experts on TAP
  • Many heads better than one
  • Balances multiple goals

Adapted from Growing Home: Reconnecting Agriculture Food and Communities (J. Green and D. Hilchey, 2002)