Despite increasing consumer interest in locally grown and processed food, little is known about the supply chains that move local foods from farms to consumers. Nor is the economic, human health, environmental, and social performance of local food supply chains well understood.
With funding from USDA's Economic Research Service, a team of researchers (including TFIC Research Affiliate Dr. Robert King) conducted a coordinated series of case studies on supply chains for local food products. The objective of this study was to improve understanding of the way in which local food products are being introduced or reintroduced into the broader food system and potential barriers to expansion of markets for local foods.
Case studies were conducted in five metropolitan areas, with a different product focus in each location. The five product-place combinations were:
For each of these product-place combinations, case studies were conducted on:
Findings from these case studies are presented in Comparing the Structure, Size, and Performance of Local and Mainstream Food Supply Chains, USDA, Economic Research Service, ERR99. The page provides links to a series of documents that supplement this report. The research was also featured in the December 2010 ERS publication Amber Waves in an article titled "Local Food Supply Chains Use Diverse Business Models To Satisfy Demand."