What is a local food system?
"Food system" is the general term used to describe the economic network of food production, processing, distribution, access, consumption, and resource/waste recovery. For example, most of the food we eat in Texas is produced outside our state, mostly California and Mexico, so our Texas food system is not very local.
A sustainable local food system is an economic network in which food production, processing, distribution, access, consumption, and resource/waste recovery (composting) are tied to a geographic region, such as north Texas. The farms and ranches producing food typically, but not always, use sustainable and organic farming practices. In a local food system, the food travels few miles wihtin the system and creates local jobs.
Here at the Texas Center for Local Food, with your support, we are collaborating broadly to create new sustainable food systems.
The Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook is a free database of degree programs, consultants, scholarships, funding, conferences, and other education and training resources for professionals and students focused on food systems work. It is published by the Thomas A. Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems. http://www.fssourcebook.org/
Nourish Food + Community has engaging videos, curricula, and leanring materials for K-12; useful for all ages. (Worldlink)
Discovering Our Food System Curriculum for teaching youth ages 12-18. Useful as a framework for other audiences. (Cornell Univ)
Coursera offers a free online class on U.S Food Systems designed for adults. We highly recommend this 6-week class! (Johns Hopkins Univ)
Movie: Food, Inc. Breakthrough film about the current food system in the US.
Movie: Fresh! If Food, Inc. bummed you out, then watch Fresh to feel less overwhelmed and ready to act.
Terrific set of maps describing the U.S. food system from the North American Food Systems Network (NAFSN)
Video from the City of Chicago introducing the reasons they are strengthing their local food economy.
Interactive map of food policy councils maintained by Drake Univ.
Article by agricultural economist John Ikerd, "The Sustainable Food System Imperative; Change is No Longer Optional"
Is Your Farmers' Market a Sham? (Outside magazine, Feb. 2015) - When you buy at your farmers' market, are the products really grown nearby? also see: At Tampa Bay Farm-to-Table Restaurants, You Are Being Fed Fiction (Tampa Bay Times, April, 2016)
City of Austin's food systems work is the best in the state. Their site has an excellent list of reports about Austin and central Texas.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology has a Texas office full of talented people to support food systems work. Call on them!
Designing a Renewable Food System learning by comparing to renewable energy sector Stanford Social Innovation Review, Jan., 2017
The Crossroads Center many excellent food system assessments are examples of what's possible in Texas!
Lane County, Oregon Local Food Market Analysis and their study Growing the Economy by Growing Food
Local Food Systems:Concepts, Impacts, and Issues (PDF; USDA Economic Research Service, May, 2010)
USDA Cooperative Extension - Community Food System Resources - Current and dynamic resources for community food systems
Local Governments and Local Food Systems - survey results 2014 and 2015; Univ of MI with ICMA (Int'l City-County Mgmt Assoc)
Food Policy Resources - Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future
New USDA AMS research publication- https://www.ams.usda.gov/publications/content/community-supported-agriculture-new-models-changing-markets
Recent Marketing Services Publications from USDA AMS: