Browse Exhibits : 4

"Farm-to-Table": 1914 - 1920

A sample newspaper advertisement suggested for farmers hoping to sell their products through the mail.

Parcel Post Profit From Farm Produce: Useful Information for the Farmer, Dairyman and Poultry Raiser in Marketing His Farm Products by Parcel Post. Hamilton Holden West (1915), p. 3

In the early 1900s there was an initiative by the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to connect farmers and customers through fresh food delivered by parcel post

This was known as the "Farm-to-Table" or "Farm-to-City" initiative

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Roadside Stands and Farmers Markets

Before improved transport, fresh fruits and vegetables were produced locally and were available only on a seasonal basis. In winter, only sturdy products such as 'apples, potatoes, onions, pickles, sauerkraut, and some dried fruits' were to be found (Wann and others, 1948, 7). Yet consumers still wanted fresh produce.” Brown, A. (2001) "Counting Farmers Markets," Geographical Review, 91(4), p. 658

By the early 20th century, improvements in transportation and the development of refrigeration made selling farm products further from home easier and more profitable. Yet for farmers located close to urban areas, selling their goods directly to consumers remained a viable option.

In this section we look at direct marketing enterprises such as roadside stands and farmers markets. Then and now, these enterprises allowed farmers to meet consumer demand for fresh local food by selling their products on their farm, on the side of the road, or in nearby urban areas.

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USDA Local Food Initiatives

People who have never been on a farm are becoming interested in where their food comes from. Towns and neighborhoods that didn’t have regular access to fresh fruits and vegetables are getting them. Farmers and ranchers are tapping into new markets and keeping more money in their pockets by selling locally. And all across the country, innovative local food businesses are starting up and staffing up. Local food systems work for America: when we create opportunities for farmers and ranchers, our entire nation reaps the benefits.

President Barack Obama
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2013

This section of the exhibit lists the USDA initiatives that have been identified by the
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food project as relevant to the topic of local foods.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

What Makes A Food "Local?"

Although local foods are defined in many different ways, uses of the term share a common desire to shape the food system to provide desirable performance outcomes or reduce negative outcomes. But these desired outcomes are numerous, and no single definition can adequately capture the diverse demands that are reflected by support for local foods. Connecting demands of food system performance to the characteristics that can satisfy those demands is key to understanding the different definitions of local foods.

Michael S.Hand and Stephen Martinez, 2010, p. 1
"Just What Does Local Mean? Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues, 25(1), p. 1.

This part of the exhibit identifies some of the individual parts of the "local foods" concept and describes their significance.

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