April 23, 2010
The latest issue of Choices Magazine, a publication of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, features seven articles centered around perspectives, prospects, and policy involved with local food systems.
The first two articles focus on perceptions and definitions of local food, the next two focus on challenges and opportunities to expand the market, and the final three look at the ways that policy effects the trend.
The Choices issue acknowledges the anticipated health, environmental, and economic benefits of relocalized food systems, and proceeds to unpack the increasingly popular, but sometimes confusing concept of local food.
In their article, Michael S. Hand and Stephen Martinez of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) encourage consumers, researchers, and policy-makers to look beyond the broad goal of relocalization and define specific benefits to farmers, consumers, and communities that local food is often tied to.
Shermain Hardesty’s piece echoes this sentiment, concluding that a refocusing on desired outcomes like more fresh food or more money staying in a local economy might make it easier to design effective federal policies to promote these goals.
Regardless, the current Choices issue acknowledges that the growing interest in around local food systems has the important benefit of drawing more attention to how we grow, process, distribute, and eat food in the US.
Categories: Local & Regional Food Systems