Foodshed Analysis Essay

Choose your preferred view mode

Please select whether you prefer to view the MDPI pages with a view tailored for mobile displays or to view the MDPI pages in the normal scrollable desktop version. This selection will be stored into your cookies and used automatically in next visits. You can also change the view style at any point from the main header when using the pages with your mobile device.

Foodsheds and City Region Food Systems in Two West African Cities

Physical Geography, Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography, University of Freiburg, 79085 Freiburg, Germany
International Water Management Institute, Battaramulla 10120, Sri Lanka
Organic Plant Production & Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and Subtropics, Universität Kassel, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
Faculty of Agriculture, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Han Wiskerke
Received: 17 August 2016 / Revised: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 25 November 2016

Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Community and Local Food Resources > Introduction to Local Food > What is Local Food?

Introduction to Local Food

What is Local Food?

There are many reasons why people purchase local food. Does one of the following statements sound like you?

  • I want the freshest and best tasting food possible.
  • I am concerned about the distance that food typically travels before reaching my plate.
  • In purchasing food from local farmers I know and trust, I hope to better ensure that sustainable growing practices will be utilized.
  • I want to support the businesses of my local farmers and support local economies and diversified local agriculture.

If so, then local food is for you!

This introductory section provides general resources, describes foodsheds, defines local food, and discusses economic benefits of local food. It is a great place to begin if you're interested in starting a local food community in your area.

Featured Videos

  • Benefits of Farmers Markets
    Farmers markets have unexpected spillover benefits like community space and an entrepreneurial environment.
  • The Growth of Farmers Markets
    Farmers markets emerge as an alternative for consumers looking to promote healthy eating and support the local economy.


General | Foodsheds | Definitions of Local Food | Economic Benefits of Local Food Systems


Marketing Local Food
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture — University of Minnesota Extension
This 124 page report is very useful for producers and those looking to strengthen their community food systems. Find information on direct marketing techniques, intermediate marketing, regulations, food safety, and more. Includes useful fact sheets including:

North Dakota “Works” the Food System
Dr. Abby Gold, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Extension
This presentation on local food around the Fargo-Moorhead area in North Dakota and Minnesota gives a general overview on food systems, defines food hubs, presents results from a symposium on local food, and describes the initiatives employed in this area of the country. This can be used as a fun way to look at what people are talking about and get ideas for starting local food discussions in your community.

New Roads to New Markets
Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) Talk
In this presentation by Patty Cantrell, a local food advocate, you will learn about how the food system has been centralized from a large number of smaller producers to a small number of large producers. Cantrell demonstrates how greater food decentralization can increase economic benefits for communities and local small businesses.

Local Food Advisory Committee Fact Sheet Series
Minnesota Department of Health and
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

This set of fact sheets provides useful tools and information about regulations for providing local produce to commercial food establishments; selling meat and poultry to consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants; a seasonal food guide; selling to schools; and farm to school website resources.

Is Local Food More Expensive?
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture — Iowa State University
This study analyzed the price of local food at farmers markets compared to produce at grocery stores. Findings found that farmers market produce was often slightly cheaper potentially conflicting with the notion that local food is only available to those who are willing to spend more.

The What and Why of Local and Regional Food
United States Department of Agriculture
This illustrated and interactive document from the USDA’s Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program contains information about several benefits strong local food systems can have for communities. This is a good source of information for those seeking to learn about the basics of local food systems.

Buy Locally Grown, It’s Thousands of Miles Fresher
Food Routes
This short and quick reference guide provides five excellent reasons to buy local — from taste and freshness to protecting the environment.

Healthy Food, Local Food
The Contrary Farmer
This is John Ikerd’s article about organic foods, the industrial food system, and why local food can be healthy. In this in-depth article, Ikerd discusses the history of local food and the potential health benefits of consuming locally.

2013 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Environmental Working Group
This guide helps consumers determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues. They also present the Clean Fifteen fruits and veggies that are relatively lower in or free of pesticides.

Guide to Washing Fresh Produce
Colorado State University
This guide provides tips on limiting exposure to bacterial contaminants and pesticides on produce.

How Can I Wash Pesticides from Fruit and Veggies? (PDF)
National Pesticide Information Center
This fact sheet provides information about how best to remove pesticides from fruits and veggies.

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen of Produce
This blog discusses the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies that had the most toxic pesticide residues remaining after washing according to a USDA study. They also determine the Clean Fifteen fruits and veggies that are relatively lower in or free of pesticides. Get the complete Shopping Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ from Environmental Working Group.

Local Food as Local Identity

The Food Heritage of Virginia: An Untapped Asset of Community & Economic Development
Lucas Lyons of the University of Virginia
This essay addresses fractured communities and how food celebrations can transform communities into economically sustainable and attractive places to visit, live, and eat. This essay examines case studies in Virginia and West Virginia.

Promoting Regional, Indigenous, and Delicious Food
Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA is a global, grassroots organization that supports local food advocacy and programming. Their Regional Biodiversity program seeks to address the decreasing diversity of food in local communities. This site provides historical examples of food species that used to be linked to specific regions.
Renowned food critics, Jane and Michael Stern, celebrate and report on authentic regional meals along highways, in small towns, and in city neighborhoods.


Red River Valley Food Assessment Research Results
Superior Food Web
Like the Western Lake Superior foodshed analysis this research project analyzed the theoretical ability of the Red River Valley Region of Minnesota and North Dakota to provide its dietary requirements from its own farms. Research results concluded that the region could feed itself a healthy diet a fraction of the farmland currently available. These studies show the great potential for local food systems and provide your community with good examples of the possibilities.

Foodshed Analysis and its Relevance to Sustainability
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
This article explores the variety of concerns in relying too heavily on large scale food operations. We need to know where food is coming from and where it might come from.

Mapping Potential Foodsheds in New York State: A Spatial Model for Evaluating the Capacity to Localize Food Production
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
This theoretical foodshed analysis demonstrates the degree to which New York State could feed itself with its own agricultural lands. Although challenged with arbitrary state borders and the large outlier of New York City, it was the first of its kind to analyze the agricultural potential for local self-reliance.

Definitions of Local Food

Definition of Local Explored by Small Farm Specialist
Iowa State Daily
In this newspaper article Extension specialist Andrew Larson discusses the many different ideas about how far away you can get local food until it is no longer considered local.

Economic Benefits of Local Food Systems

Financial Benchmarks and Economic Impact of Local Food Operations
University of Minnesota Extension
This research report examines the financial performance and economic contributions of small mixed vegetable farms in Central Minnesota.

The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments, and Choices
United States Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Marketing Service
This toolkit will help those looking to conduct research on the economic impacts that local food systems have on their communities.

Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems
Union of Concerned Scientists
This report analyses the economic benefits of local food systems. Authors contend that investing in local food systems creates jobs, keeps money in local economies, promotes community development, and can reduce environmental and public health impacts.

Measuring the Economic Impacts of Increased Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Production
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture — Iowa State University
This study measures the impacts a local food system would have on jobs and income should a metropolitan demand for fresh fruits and vegetables be met by local farmers. This report is metro-centric and assumes that metropolitan areas are needed for producers to utilize economies of scale in order to make local production feasible and to promote jobs.

The Economic Impact of Fruit and Vegetable Production in Southwest Iowa
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture — Iowa State University
This study looks at local food production for metropolitan markets in southwest Iowa. One scenario looks at local production for the area within a growing season, the other scenario looks at production including bordering metropolitan areas. Results indicated that as farm production increases, so do labor incomes and job creation.

Selected Measures of the Economic Values of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption in the Upper Midwest
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture — Iowa State University
This study estimates the direct and induced economic impacts of a local food system if demand were met with supply including all of the normal controls, such as seasonality. State level and county level analyses were both completed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Foodshed Analysis Essay”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *