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 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.

USDA. Agricultural Law Information Partnership.

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

USDA. NAL. Food and Nutrition Information Center.

This resource list provides information on how establishing community food systems meets daily food and nutrition needs, helps the local economy, supports local farmers, and promotes a sustainable, local food system.

University of Minnesota Extension Service.

"Demand for local food in rural communities is growing. Sustainable local food systems need to have strong community support to build and maintain the infrastructure needed to bring food from farm to fork. This website provides resources to support rural communities just beginning to build their community food systems as well as those whose local food systems are already strong."

USDA. Economic Research Service.

"Explores alternative definitions of local food, estimates market size and reach, describes the characteristics of local consumers and producers, and examines early indications of the economic and health impacts of local food systems." (Economic Research Report no. ERR-97. May 2010)

Cornell University. Community and Rural Development Institute.

Tools and data from a research, teaching and extension program dedicated to strengthening communities and supporting local agriculture.

University of California at Davis. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

This bibliography and update are guides to published literature and peer-reviewed research (2000-2013) on local and regional food systems.

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

This publication addresses how food miles are calculated, investigates how food miles affect producers and consumers, and evaluates methods for curbing the energy intensiveness of our food transportation system.

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Choices magazine features seven papers that "help clarify perceptions about local foods, prospects for growth in their supply and demand, and policy issues affecting the development of local food systems." (v. 25 no. 1 Oct. 2010).

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

This bibliography documents existing research and resources on Farm to School and Farm to Institution efforts around the Nation. Our knowledge about Farm to School may foster future research that will eventually facilitate the growth of sustainable food production and local food consumption.