Local Food Systems

A roadside market operated by a local farmwoman in Hampshire County, Massachusetts in September 1940.""Local and regional food systems" refers to place-specific clusters of agricultural producers of all kinds—farmers, ranchers, fishers—along with consumers and institutions engaged in producing, processing, distributing, and selling foods…."  Source: Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress.

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.

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. 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.

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)

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.