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Local Food Systems: Emerging Research & Policy Issues

In recent years, consumer awareness of and interest in food that is locally and regionally grown has increased sharply. While locally grown food still accounts for a small share of total domestic food sales, it is one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture. A workshop June 26, 2009, examined issues related to local foods.  The workshop, which took place at USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), Washington, D.C., was a collaboration of ERS and Farm Foundation.

Despite growing interest in local foods, many questions remain about the impacts of local food systems on environmental and human health, food safety, marketing arrangements, and rural development. It also remains unclear what types of economic tradeoffs are associated with growth in local foods, and no consensus exists on the appropriate role for government programs and policies in local food systems.

The goals of this workshop were to:

 

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