A local food system has several benefits. These advantages include ethical, social, economic, and environmental. Local food systems are dependent on short supply chains in addition to saving money on transportation. Farmers can sell their goods locally because of short supply chains. Additionally, they improve food security by lowering the demand for imported goods. Local food systems may be pretty effective, even if they may not be ideal.
Farmers' markets, farm-to-school initiatives, and regional food hubs are all growing, according to a new USDA Economic Research Service research titled "Trends in US Local and Regional Food Systems." Local food systems also safeguard priceless green places and generate additional job prospects. Utilizing locally grown food also contributes to preserving fishermen's access to the shoreline and farms. These economic advantages merit research and exploration. But how can the benefits of regional food systems be quantified? In seven sections, the AMS study provides recommendations.
According to recent research by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, local food sales in Iowa climbed by 45 per cent between 2012 and 2013 (totalling $22 million over the course of two years). Considering that this tendency would create 171 additional employment, it is positive. As a result, farmers and customers may get nutritious food from local food production. In addition, businesses may ensure a more steady food supply by supporting local food systems, which benefits local economies.
The demand for locally grown, organic, and sustainably produced foods has expanded as the world's population becomes more health aware. These methods benefit the environment, farmers, ranchers, and consumers beyond the environment and the well-being of nearby people. Many of the advantages of local food systems are pretty straightforward. Here are some of these advantages.
First, local foods are usually seen as having advantages. Customers often think local foods are ecologically beneficial since they are frequently produced locally. But this isn't always the case. Local food, for instance, might be seen as more sustainable but also needs less transportation. As a result, it is difficult to quantify the environmental advantages of eating locally produced food. The shorter travel times between producers and consumers are primarily responsible for the benefits of regional food systems.
Local food systems have a complicated effect on the environment and culture. Local food systems may boost community and rural development, minimize carbon footprint, and provide social benefits. Local food systems may perhaps even increase revenue and provide employment. There is still much to learn about the economic advantages of local food systems. However, there is still much to learn about how local food systems affect communities. It is essential to look at the evidence.
First, it is often exaggerated how much local food systems contribute to the economy. Most studies make the exaggerated assumption that buying locally grown food increases consumer expenditure. The local food system is more likely to spur economic growth by directing customers to nearby farms. Local food systems sometimes promote the development of small enterprises and new local food establishments. Local food systems may sometimes even act as business incubators.
People were more conscious of concerns relating to food and farming during the 1970s. Philosophers and activists already wrote about environmental, social, and economic challenges at the time. Frances Moore Lappe initially put out the ecological ethic in 1971. Food protests and the counter-culture movement began to gain popularity in the 1980s, and the advent of consumer food cooperatives and organic food production started to play a significant role in American society.
Local food systems' ethics are only one of many complicated values involved in the fight to transform our food system. However, many people are increasingly considering their eating habits and taking an ethical stand. Despite their importance, these initiatives often reflect a more general societal framework. Participating in political and social activities and advocating for structural change are essential. The food movement is seen by many as a form of political opposition.
The authors of this analysis discovered that there are many different levels of processing and distribution businesses involved in the link between rural and urban food systems. Although a tiny portion of the cost of food is made up of farm goods, consumers are becoming farther away from their agricultural source. According to the authors, new distribution methods give farmers more chances to sell their produce locally. Additionally, they highlight a few significant developments in the current food movement.
Local food systems support small and medium-sized farms. These food sources were sold at nearby farmers' markets in the 1990s. Farmer's markets increased between 1994 and 2017, but many of them have since shut down, and some academics have questioned their efficacy. While some farmers' markets are booming, other academics are concerned that the current downturn may be due to the farmers' markets' hasty development in areas with strong demand.
Numerous research and publications on UFS have been inspired by the fragility of food systems and the expanding urbanization. The 5360 papers from the World of Science core collection that were the subject of the first comprehensive bibliometric examination of UFS research are the focus of this review. The paper also emphasizes how more comparisons across other places may be advantageous for UFS research. The paucity of data from low-income nations, where UFS research is most required, is a significant problem in the study.
UFS publications have increased, although the discipline is still young and poorly understood. Sustainability has been the subject of several research since the UN's SDGs were approved in 2015. However, the evaluation of UFS's sustainability is currently primarily theoretical and poorly understood. Although some studies have developed frameworks for UFS sustainability evaluation, most are still in the conceptual stage. The knowledge that is produced is insufficient for the formulation of UFS research and policy.