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.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

The Marketing Services Division (MSD) works to improve market access for producers and develop new markets through its three main roles as a researcher, a convener, and a technical assistance provider.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

Powerpoint presention addresses the meaning of "local food," the relationship of local food to the U.S. food system, local food demand, marketing outlets, the future of local foods, and market growth.

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.


Calculators, toolkits, guides, and other resources to support growing local food systems.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Local Foods, Local Places helps cities and towns across the country protect the environment and human health by engaging with local partners to reinvest in existing neighborhoods as they develop local food systems."

U.S. Congressional Research Service

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