Local Food Systems

Children eating apples in the classroom. (Copyright ARS)

A community food system "integrates food production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place." From Discovering the Food System: A Primer on Community Food Systems, Cornell University.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

"The consumer demand for locally-produced food is creating jobs and opportunity throughout rural America.... Farm and business opportunities continue to increase as the market share of local and regional foods grows."  This resource helps connect farmers, ranchers and food businesses with USDA programs, research, resources, and funding to help them meet this growing demand.

USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The "first-ever survey conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service to produce benchmark data about local food marketing practices" reports data on direct marketed sales of food; sales by marketing practice; direct-to-consumer marketing practices; location of production and type of products sold directly to consumers; demographics; and farm level practices for farms which market directly.

ATTRA. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Offers resources and tools about local foods; urban and community agriculture; local marketing, processing, and distribution; farm start-up; and policy and food access. Identifies programs and projects that focus on local foods. Includes Local Food Resources, a directory of programs, resources and contacts; and the Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions guide to programs.

University of Minnesota.  Extension.

Provides resources for farmers and producers, community organizations, and Extension Educators in support of rural communities that are developing new or operating established community food systems.

USDA. Agricultural Law Information Partnership.

Information about laws and regulations pertaining to local and regional food systems.

University of Arkansas. National Agricultural Law Center.

Site includes Congressional reports, agency listings, Center reports and references to statutes, case law and other government information pertinent to local food systems. Links to related U.S. government and other publications and resources.

USDA. National Agricultural Library.

The National Agricultural Library's digital exhibit showcases the library’s numerous historical and current resources that detail how food travels from farm to table. It comprises three main sections: a review of the “Farm-to-Table” movement of the early 1900s, a survey of roadside stands and farmers markets, and a list of current USDA local food initiatives.

United States Department of Agriculture.

A USDA initiative to promote sustainable local and regional food systems that will support small and mid-sized farms and ranches, strengthen rural communities, promote healthy eating, and protect our natural resources.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

Links to local foods topical publications and presentations, including those on direct-to-consumer marketing. AMS works to improve market access for operators of small and medium-size farms.

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