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Local food (also regional food or food patriotism) or the local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place" and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves "localvores" or locavores.
1 Local food systems
3 Impacts of local food systems
3.1 Food quality
3.3 Polyculture and sustainable farming
3.4 Local economies
3.5 Cost to consumer
3.6 Effect on exporting countries
3.7 Environmental impact
4 Student Summits
6 Interwiki links
 Local food systems
Local food systems are an alternative to the global corporate models where producers and consumers are separated through a chain of processors/manufacturers, shippers and retailers. With an increasing scale of industrial food systems the control of quality is increasingly decided by the middlemen while a local food system redevelops these relationships and encourage a return of quality control to the consumer and the producer respectively. These quality characteristics are not only in the product but in the method of producing.
A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, 150 or 250 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.
"Locavore" was coined by Jessica Prentice from the San Francisco Bay Area on the occasion of World Environment Day 2005 to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested from within an area most commonly bound by a 100 mile radius.
The New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore, a person who seeks out locally produced food, as its word of the year 2007. The local foods movement is gaining momentum as people discover that the best-tasting and most sustainable choices are foods that are fresh, seasonal, and grown close to home. Some locavores draw inspiration from the The 100-Mile Diet or from advocates of local eating like Barbara Kingsolver whose book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle chronicles her family's attempts to eat locally. Others just follow their taste buds to farmers' markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, and community gardens.
 Impacts of local food systems
 Food quality
Another effect is the increase in food quality and taste. Locally grown fresh food is consumed almost immediately after harvest, so it is sold fresher and usually riper (e.g. picked at peak maturity, as it would be from a home garden). Also, the need for chemical preservatives and irradiation to artificially extend shelf-life is reduced or eliminated.
Additionally, preserving or renewing regional foodways, including unique localized production practices, indigenous knowledge, agricultural landscapes, and local/regional varieties crops or livestock that may be rare or otherwise endangered. It is increasingly being tied to the movement to preserve farmland in areas where development pressures threaten these landscapes.
 Polyculture and sustainable farming
A major impact of local food systems is to encourage multiple cropping, i.e. growing multiple species and a wide variety of crops at the same time and same place, as opposed to the prevalent commercial practice of large-scale, single-crop monoculture.
With a higher demand for a variety of agricultural products, farmers are more likely to diversify their production, thereby making it easier to farm in a sustainable way. For example, winter intercropping (e.g. coverage of leguminous crops during winter) and crop rotation reduces pest pressure, and also the use of pesticides. Also, in an animal/crop multiculture system, the on-farm byproducts like manure and crop residues are used to replace chemical fertilizers, while on-farm produced silage and leguminous crops feed the cattle instead of imported soya. Manure and residues being considered as by-products rather than waste, will have reduced effects on the environment, and reduction in soya import is likely to be economically interesting for the farmer, as well as more secure (because of a decrease of market dependence on outside inputs).
In a polycultural agroecosystem, there is usually a more efficient use of labour as each crop has a different cycle of culture, hence different time of intensive care, minimization of risk (lesser effect of extreme weather as one crop can compensate for another), reduction of insect pests and disease incidence (diseases are usually crop specific), maximization of results with low levels of technology - intensive monoculture cropping often involves very high-technology material and sometimes the use of genetically modified seeds (see Appropriate technology}. Multiculture also seeks to preserve indigenous biodiversity.
 Local economies
Main article: Local economies.
Local food production strengthens local economies by protecting small farms, local jobs, and local shops, thereby increasing food security.
One example of an effort in this direction is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where consumers purchase advance shares in a local farmer's annual production, and pick up their shares, usually weekly, from communal distribution points. In effect, CSA members become active participants in local farming, by providing up-front cash to finance seasonal expenses, sharing in the risks and rewards of the growing conditions, and taking part in the distribution system. Some CSA set-ups require members to contribute a certain amount of labor, in a form of cooperative venture.
The popular resurgence of farmers markets in many parts of the world, including Europe and North America (from 1,755 in 1994 to 4,385 in 2006 in the U.S.), contributes to local economies. They are traditional in many societies, bringing together local food and craft producers for the convenience of local consumers. Today, some urban farmers markets are large-scale enterprises, attracting tens of thousands on a market day, and vendors are not always "local". However, the majority of markets are still built around local farmers.
Another at present small but notable trend is local food as part of a barter system. In localized economies, where a variety of common goods and services are provided by individuals and businesses within the immediate community (as opposed to by outlets and branches of large corporations), a direct of exchange of values is quite feasible. Some CSA projects, for example, trade services or labor for food. Particularly in the developed nations, the move away from local food to agribusiness over the last 100 years has had a profound socioeconomic effect, by redistributing populations into urban areas, and concentrating ownership of land and capital. In addition, the traditional farming skill set, which by necessity included a diverse range of knowledge and abilities required to manage a farm, has given way to new generations of specialists. When farming for local consumption was a cornerstone of local economies, the farmer was an integral, leading member of the community, a far different position from today. Support for local food is seen by some as a way to rediscover valuable community structures, values and perspectives.
 Cost to consumer
Critics also say that local food tends to be more expensive to the consumer than food bought without regard to provenance and could never provide the variety currently available (such as having summer vegetables available in winter, or having kinds of food available which can not be locally produced due to soil, climate or labor conditions).
However, proponents claim that the lower price of commodified food is often due to a variety of governmental subsidies, including direct ones such as price supports, direct payments or tax breaks, and indirect ones such as subsidies for trucking via road infrastructure investment, and often does not take into account the true cost of the product. They further indicate that buying local food does not necessarily mean giving up all food coming from distant ecoregions, but rather favoring local foods when available. They also point out that local foods often represent more variety, not less, as obscure local delicacies (including wild foods) are rediscovered, and as more types of produce (varieties or indeed species) are grown in the garden or allotment, types that would not be acceptable in the supermarket-driven food chain.
A study published in the May, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, suggests that the average supermarket shopper is willing to pay a premium price for locally produced foods. The study also showed that shoppers at farm markets are willing to pay almost twice as much extra as retail grocery shoppers for the same locally produced foods. In 2005, the researchers surveyed shoppers at 17 Midwestern locations, including seven retail grocery stores, six on-site farm markets and four farmers’ markets hosting sellers from multiple farms. The researchers used data from 477 surveys.
 Effect on exporting countries
Some critics argue that by convincing consumers in developed nations not to buy food produced in the third world, the local food movement damages the economy of third world nations, which often rely heavily on food exports and cash crops.
 Environmental impact
Critics of the local food movement point out that transport is only one component of the total environmental impact of food production and consumption. In fact, any environmental assessment of food that consumers buy needs to take into account how the food has been produced and what energy is used in its production. For example, it is likely to be more environmentally friendly for tomatoes to be grown in Spain and transported to the UK than for the same tomatoes to be grown in greenhouses in the UK requiring electricity to light and heat them. The solutions to this though would be either using low impact energy sources on the greenhouses, such a solar, geothermal or wind, or to switch to eating seasonally.
A study by Lincoln University of Christchurch, New Zealand challenges claims about food miles by comparing total energy used in food production in Europe and New Zealand, taking into account energy used to ship the food to Europe for consumers
New Zealand has greater production efficiency in many food commodities compared to the UK. For example New Zealand agriculture tends to apply less fertilizers (which require large amounts of energy to produce and cause significant CO2 emissions) and animals are able to graze year round outside eating grass instead large quantities of brought-in feed such as concentrates. In the case of dairy and sheep meat production NZ is by far more energy efficient even including the transport cost than the UK, twice as efficient in the case of dairy, and four times as efficient in case of sheep meat. In the case of apples NZ is more energy efficient even though the energy embodied in capital items and other inputs data was not available for the UK.
An August 6, 2007 article in The New York Times gave examples of how eating locally grown food sometimes causes an increase, instead of a decrease, in the carbon footprint. As one example, the article stated, "... lamb raised on New Zealand’s clover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed. In other words, it is four times more energy-efficient for Londoners to buy lamb imported from the other side of the world than to buy it from a producer in their backyard."
According to a study by engineers Christopher Weber and H. Scott Matthews of Carnegie Mellon University, of all the greenhouse gases emitted by the food industry, only 4% comes from transporting the food from producers to retailers. The study also concluded that adopting a vegetarian diet, even if the vegetarian food is transported over very long distances, does far more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, than does eating a locally grown diet.
 Student Summits
On February 23, 2008, Penn State (Pennsylvania, USA) is hosted the PA/NJ Food Summit for students to learn practical skills from different experts in the field regarding how they can make a difference on their campus.
There is more information available on our webpage () but we will be covering topics like how your dining hall can source locally and how to start a campus garden. Although the summit is designed for PA and NJ students, we would welcome students from New York as well.
This page or section includes content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Local food. The list of authors can be seen in the history for that page. As with Appropedia, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License, and is expected to transition to the CC-BY-SA license before August 2009.
↑ Feenstra, G. (2002) Creating space for sustainable food systems: lessons from the field. Agriculture and Human Values. 19(2). 99-106.
↑ Roosevelt, M. (2006) The Lure of the 100-Mile Diet. Time Magazine. Sunday June 11, 2006. Accessed at http://web.archive.org/web/20130826152047/http://www.time.com:80/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200783,00.html on Nov 1, 2007 at 10:35 am PDT).
↑ Sonnino, R. & Marsden, T. (2006) Beyond the Divide: rethinking relationships between alternative and conventional food networks in Europe. Economic Journal of Geography. pp. 181-199.
↑ Template:Cite news
↑ USDA Agricultural Marketing Services (2006). Farmers Market Growth. http://www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/farmersmarketgrowth.htm accessed on Dec 6, 2006 at 1044:pm PST
↑ Newswise: Shoppers Willing to Pay Premium for Locally Grown Food Retrieved on June 15, 2008.
↑ Food Miles: Comparative Energy/Emissions Performance of New Zealand’s Agriculture Industry
↑ Food That Travels Well, The New York Times, August 6, 2007
↑ Food miles are less important to environment than food choices, study concludes, Jane Liaw, special to mongabay.com June 2, 2008
 Interwiki links
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