A publication of AAEA

A publication of AAEA
Theme: Consumers and Markets

Theme: Consumers and Markets

Theme Overview: Local Food—Perceptions, Prospects, and Policies

Robert P. King
The local food movement has captured the attention of American consumers, producers, food marketers, and policymakers. These theme articles explore perceptions about local foods, prospects for growth in their supply and demand, and policy issues affecting the development of local food systems.

Just What Does Local Mean?

Michael S. Hand and Stephen Martinez
Local food systems can be defined in numerous ways, relying on geographic, social, and supply chain characteristics. These definitions are tied to preferences for performance outcomes of the food system, such as environmental quality and economic development, which precludes the adoption of a single local foods definition.

Local Food Consumers: How Motivations and Perceptions Translate to Buying Behavior

Yuko Onozaka, Gretchen Nurse, and Dawn Thilmany McFadden
Although local food is gaining more visibility in the marketplace, little is understood about consumer perceptions of local food, what motivates local purchases, and how local choices influence shopping venue preferences for food buyers. This article explores these issues in the fresh produce market using 2008 national survey data.

Filling in the Gaps: Eight Things to Recognize about Farm-Direct Marketing

Larry Lev and Lauren Gwin
Although farm-direct marketing channels are increasingly visible in the United States, their relative sizes and impacts are poorly understood. This article discusses seven data-driven statements related to farm-direct marketing and then presents a brief case study on the challenges of selling livestock products in farm-direct markets.

Can Local Food Go Mainstream?

Robert P. King, Miguel I. Gómez, and Gigi DiGiacomo
The mainstream supermarket distribution system favors large suppliers and facilitates long distance movement of products. Can it meet growing demand for local food products? Are there meaningful prospects for a significant “relocalization” of supermarket offerings? Though small, this segment of the food system has the potential for sustained, rapid growth.

Catching the "Local" Bug: A Look at State Agricultural Marketing Programs

Kathryn A. Onken and John C. Bernard
All fifty states have an agricultural marketing program in place, with more than half established after 2000. This increase coincides with consumer trends towards local foods. This article discusses the differing aspects of these programs, and presents some evidence on how state program promoted food purchases compare with local foods.

Do Government Policies Grow Local Food?

Shermain D. Hardesty
The local food movement gained government support with the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill and the subsequent introduction of USDA’s "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative. This article examines the impact that various federal, state and local policies have had on local food.

Is Local Enough? Some Arguments for Regional Food Systems

Kate Clancy and Kathryn Ruhf
Regional food systems are larger and more comprehensive than local food systems. We argue that on four dimensions—food needs and supply, environmental sustainability, economic development, and diversity—a regional framework is a meaningful and viable path to a more resilient food system.