How has consumer demand for locally sourced foods impacted the us food industry?

In the last 20 years, a vast literature has emerged on alternative food networks and local food systems, with definitions of the local meaning of many things for many different people (Trivette, 2010). Two other farmers markets in central Virginia required that food be grown within a 75-mile radius and one required that food be grown in the county. Selling to grocery stores or institutional food services often requires farmers to develop new business skills or increase their operational capacity, and may require grocers, food distributors and food service managers to adapt their purchasing processes to locate locally produced food sources that are only available in season. Local foods generally refer to foods produced close to their point of consumption, but there is no consensus as to what distances are considered local.

While many of the benefits of local food systems are common to both urban and rural communities, rural communities can uniquely benefit from a dynamic local food system. A local food system expands economic interactions between food producers and food consumers to include social relationships and environmental management focused on a particular place. Communities with local food systems also know how to cope with local conditions and can better respond to challenges affecting food production in their local regions. Labor shortages, logistical disruptions and incoherences between supply and demand due to COVID-19 have had a significant impact on production, distribution and inventory levels across the food system, leading to empty supermarket shelves, food waste, the closure of processing plants, the interruption of exports and an increase in global food insecurity.

Studies that compared local foods with food from conventional retailers found no significant difference in energy use for transportation, except for those transported by air. An additional benefit of local food systems is the opportunity for communities to be better prepared to face future challenges that could affect the food supply. Education, from production in artisanal workshops to cooking fresh food and reducing food waste, will be a key component in strengthening and improving local food systems. The effect of the distance that food travels, or the miles that food travels, on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions has been the subject of numerous studies, especially in the United Kingdom (United Kingdom).

While consumers may not soon forget the images of overcrowded meat processing plants, farmers destroying crops due to supply chain disruptions or the high risk of COVID faced by people with non-communicable diseases caused by unhealthy diets, the reality is that the large food sector, which drives much of the global food system, is not going to disappear anytime soon. Since local food systems are often small-scale, it is important for participants to thoroughly research food safety regulations, economic incentives and tax structures to support their development. Direct relationships between the people who grow food (farmers) and the people who consume it (consumers or consumers) characterize Level 1 of the food system.

Thaddeus Gieger
Thaddeus Gieger

Typical coffee expert. Amateur music fanatic. Professional music fanatic. Extreme tv specialist. Music practitioner. Amateur internet junkie.

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