Regional Food Systems Infrastructure

In recent years, an emphasis on eating locally grown food has flourished. Amid concerns about the energy required to transport food around the globe, the environmental impacts of large-scale industrial farming operations, and food safety issues, many Americans have sought to direct more of their food-purchasing budget to producers located closer to home. Farmers markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, and efforts to strengthen connections between regional producers and consumers have grown exponentially to meet this demand; indeed, the number of farmers markets in the U.S. has more than tripled since 1994.

However, eating local is still a niche market. Even as households have increased purchases of locally produced items, large-scale institutions such as school districts, hospitals or supermarket chains Infrastructurestruggle to adapt their buying practices to support smaller suppliers. Significant barriers prevent small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers from connecting with the expanding base of consumers who seek locally grown food.

Downloadable Documents: 
Author: 
National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation
Publisher: 
Washington,DC: National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation
Page Numbers: 
8
Publication Date: 
December 1, 2010
Literature Category: 
Reports and Studies