A new guide from PolicyLink aims to help any purchaser or retailer that wants to start a buy-local program. This guide is designed for buyers in Newark, New Jersey, but it is also useful for anyone seeking to improve local buying power. The guide explores how small, local businesses can supply anchor institutions, such as hospitals, universities, libraries, government agencies, and other large, locally rooted employers, which spend millions of dollars on supplies and services annually.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the launch of a food hub guide, a new USDA tool to bolster expansion of market opportunities for small and mid-sized U.S. producers. This resource was developed in partnership with the Wallace Center at Winrock International, the National Good Food Network, the National Association of Produce Market Managers, and the Project for Public Spaces, as part of the National Food Hub Collaboration.
A USDA study of eight regional food hubs/distribution networks that describes how these networks tap into the growing commercial demand for local and regional food products while creating additional economic opportunities and expanding healthy food access.
Consumer preference for local produce is increasing according to research completed by Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. 52% of consumers reported that it was more important to buy local produce over organic options.
Policy Brief No. 10 from the Institute for Food and Development Policy is a collection of resources, including tools and successful model policies, for local policy that supports integrated, sustainable and equitable food systems at the city or regional level. It is organized for each area of the food system: production, processing, distribution, consumption and food waste recovery.
USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass is an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies.
PolicyMap is a fully web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) that makes data accessible to help individuals make informed local-based decisions. Data includes demographics, household income, food assistance statistics, school performance and health indicators.
Senator Brown of Ohio and Representative Pingree of Maine introduced a comprehensive bill Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act for the 2012 Farm Bill. The bill addresses local and regional food system development, supports family farms, invests in communities, and improves access to healthy food by revising and expanding existing federal farm programs.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture report states that in 2008 sales of local foods, both sold directly to consumers or through intermediaries like grocers, totaled $4.8 billion. It also predicts that locally grown foods will generate $7 billion in sales in 2011.
In response to a recent post by Steven Sexton on the Freakonomics blog about the inefficiency of local food, Tom Philpott, among others, defend the local food movement and re-examine industrial agriculture and the current state of US food systems.
Girl Scouts can earn a locavore badge by exploring the benefits and challenges of going local, finding their local food sources, cooking a simple dish that showcases local ingredients, making a recipe with local ingredients, and trying a local cooking challenge.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new report: Market Forces: Creating jobs through public investment in local and regional food systems. In the report they question Federal policies that favor industrial agriculture and challenge the expansion of Farmers Markets. Farmers Markets provide fresh food direct from the farm, improving American diets and generating new jobs. It is asserted that with modest federal support, Farmers Markets could generate tens of thousands of new jobs.
It is recognized that obesity is influenced by both what you eat and where you live as individual choices of diet are often limited or swayed by what is available in a food environment. Thus there is an ongoing effort to reduce obesity by improving food access where people live. Michigan is gaining recognition for its anti-obesity strategy by improving food access.
Traditionally, lettuce sold in a Wal-Mart in eastern Connecticut is from a warmer and sunnier location, but due in part to high energy prices, local food is looking more attractive to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart saves on the price of diesel fuel and cuts down on spoilage costs by buying local produce, however, Wal-Mart tells WSJ that their motivation is not an economic one but rather to meet changing consumers preferences.
Weis Markets have been purchasing and selling local produce for 99 years and counting! In 2011 Weis Markets will purchase + 24 million pounds of produce from an estimated 150 farmers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The centerpiece of their campaign includes photos of each farmer and supplier. Click on the following link to view their campaign.
The Oregon State Legislature received the proof it needed to pass the Farm to School and School Garden Bill from Ecotrust's work piloting a local lunch subsidy program. The study, taking data collected during the 2008-2009 school year, shows that investment in local school food provides economic benefit to the state. The Farm to School and School Garden Bill gives $200,000 to the Oregon Department of Education to administer a competitive grants pilot program in two school districts with the majority of funding reimbursing these school districts an additional 15 cents per school lunch to buy Oregon-grown foods. Click on the following link to read Ecotrust's report, The Impact of Seven Cents.
This report, from the April 2011 Agricultural and Resource Economics Review and written by Hiroki Uematsu and Ashok Mishra, looks at factors affecting the total number of direct marketing strategies adopted by farmers.
The Washington Farm to Schools Program announced the publication of a new toolkit on June 20. The goal of the Washington Grown Food Kit is the help school food service directors learn more about the planning, procurement and logistics of local food purchasing and it also outlines strategies to farmers about how to develop and serve school markets and comply to school procurement policies. Click here for the toolkit.
Fair Food Network is a non-profit, based in Ann Arbor Michigan, that is focused on building a more sustianable and just food system. Their resource page includes food access related links to reports, case studies, and policy and advocacy tools.
Urban Design Lab is a joint collaboration between the Laboratory of the Earth Institute and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Prevention at Columbia University. Their research projects look at an integrated regional foodshed in the Northeast and use data to analyze processing and transportation systems while increasing access to fresh food.