Local Food Research and Publications

Farmers Markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grows the produce.

Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. USDA celebrates  National Farmers Market Week (pdf), (the first full week in August) each year and as of 2019 estimates, there are 8,140 farmers markets in the US.

Food value chains represent an innovative business model in which agricultural producers, manufacturers, buyers, and other related supply chain actors form collaborative, transparent partnerships. Unlike traditional corporate marketing approaches, which focus on the superior attributes of a firm’s products or services, value chains address customers’ desire to promote social improvement. Social or environmental mission values are incorporated within the traditional scope of product differentiation strategies, focusing on such issues as:

  • Supporting the local economy;
  • Farmland preservation and viability;
  • Providing humane treatment and animal welfare;
  • Expanding community access to fresh food; and,
  • Demonstrating environmental stewardship.
     

Food hubs are an important subset of food value chains.  Many farmers and ranchers, especially smaller and mid-sized operations, often lack the capacity to access retail, institutional, and commercial foodservice markets on their own, and consequently miss out on the fastest growing segment of the local food market. By offering a combination of aggregation, distribution, and marketing services at an affordable price, food hubs make it possible for many producers to enter larger-volume markets that boost their income and provide opportunities for scaling up production.

In addition to these market channels, AMS researches a variety of issues related to local and regional food systems, such as farm to institution metrics, urban agriculture, and local meat

Listed below are recently completed projects and resources. For a full list of publications, visit this page.