local food


Across the United States, Local Food Investments Link Harvest to Health

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Earlier this month, we took a deep, data-driven dive into the state of food and farming across the US with the release of our 50-State Food System Scorecard. Although the country as a whole isn’t exactly the poster child for healthy and sustainable food systems (far from it), there’s a lot of variability in what’s happening at farms, grocery stores, and dinner tables from one state to the next—and we’re here to learn from it.

Of course, we couldn’t assess the food system without taking a good, hard look at how it impacts its end users: us. Read more >

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Local produce, sold through direct-to-consumer channels like farmers markets and community supported agriculture programs, is often sold at a price premium. But does that premium impact farmers’ bottom line? Photo: Todd Johnson/ Oklahoma State University.

Do Local Food Markets Support Profitable Farms and Ranches?

Becca B.R. Jablonski, Dawn Thilmany McFadden, Allie Bauman, Dave Shideler, , UCS

How many times have you heard that when you shop locally, farmers win? Families shop at farmers markets, school districts procure locally-grown and raised items, and restaurants curate seasonal menus at least in part because they believe they are supporting the economic viability of local producers. But do we have evidence that these local markets actually provide economic benefits to farmers and ranchers? Read more >

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Thanksgiving Dinner Is Cheapest in Years, But Are Family Farms Paying the Price?

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Last week, the Farm Bureau released the results of its annual price survey on the cost of a typical Thanksgiving dinner. The grand total for a “feast” for 10 people, according to this year’s shoppers? About 50 dollars. ($49.87, if you want to be exact.) After adjusting for inflation, the Farm Bureau concluded that the cost of Thanksgiving dinner was at its lowest level since 2013. Let’s talk about what that means for farmers, and for all of us. Read more >

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Customers shop at the Crossroads Farmers Market in Takoma Park, Maryland, July 2014. Photo by Union of Concerned Scientists

7 Fun Facts for National Farmers Market Week

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

And now, something we can feel good about. This Sunday marks the start of National Farmers Market Week, an annual celebration of local food systems. To get us in the mood, here are seven facts that illustrate the benefits of farmers markets and local food systems. Read more >

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What Can “Local” Food Do?

David Arthur Cleveland, , UCS

What does “local food” mean? Most of us think of local food as something that was grown nearby geographically, although the distances can vary a lot.

We also tend to make a lot of assumptions about what local food can do. For example, we think of “local” food, as a more sustainable alternative to the global, industrial food system that produces lots of food, but is also environmentally destructive, makes people sick, and leaves many hungry. Read more >

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