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. 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.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

The interactive Local Food Compass map "shows USDA and other federal investments in local and regional food systems since 2009, along with data such as farmers markets, food hubs, and meat processors."

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.

USDA. Economic Research Service.

"ERS provides comprehensive overview of local food systems, including alternative definitions of local food, estimates market size and reach, characteristics of local consumers and producers, and early indications of the economic and health impacts of local food systems."

USDA. Economic Research Service.

"This report provides an overview of local and regional food systems across several dimensions. It details the latest economic information on local food producers, consumers, and policy, relying on findings from several national surveys and a synthesis of recent literature to assess the current size of and recent trends in local and regional food systems."

U.S. Congressional Research Service

Provides background information and data on local and regional food systems; "highlights available resources within existing federal programs...that may be applied to support local food systems;" describes related initiatives of the Obama Administration; and discusses legislative options and proposals related to local and regional food systems, as part of the 2012 farm bill process.

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.

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.

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