The Economics of Local Food:

an Emerging Community of Practice

We are actively growing a new Community of Practice to help you and your community understand the ag and food enterprise viability, market dynamics and other key socio-economics metrics of local and regional food systems.

The Toolkit is made up of seven modules that can be grouped into two stages of food system planning, assessment and evaluation. The first set of modules (1-4) guides the first stages of an economic impact assessment and includes framing the system, relevant economic activities and assessment process as well as collecting and analyzing relevant primary and secondary data. The second set of modules (5-7) provides a more technical set of practices and discussion of how to use the information collected in stage one to conduct a more rigorous economic impact analysis.

Includes case studies, reflective essays, and other articles about measuring the impact of local food systems through the use of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Services’ Local Food Systems Toolkit. The issue is sponsored by Food Systems at Colorado State University and USDA AMS. Guest editors are Dawn Thilmany McFadden and Becca B. R. Jablonski, both at Colorado State University.

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About Local Food Economics

This website provides a gateway for you to explore work going on throughout the US on food systems, and it continues to grow. Please consider joining our Community as a team member, or by nominating your project that has created original research and/or outreach content in this area. (Follow the Getting Involved menu above)

This community of practice represents a virtual collection of emerging research, program evaluations and initiatives that seek to improve understanding of the complexities and economic potential of local and regional food systems, and their contributions to community and business development.

Through its support of the Toolkit , USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and its research partners have come to realize the importance and power of gathering community-based evidence that provide real-world illustrations of benefits associated with local food investments, while identifying the most appropriate and effective practices for advancing local food systems development. 

Programs and Initiatives

Latest Tweets

June 13, 2021
@dtropp @TexasLocalFood @rebeccabr @jkohara We had never thought about promoting the toolkit has a companion or bedroom accessory, but glad you are finding it useful...good luck if you are grant writing!!
@TexasLocalFood @dtropp @jkohara @localfoodecon
June 8, 2021
Food entrepreneurship was already strong and then COVID catalyzed a whole new generation of innovators.... https://t.co/zgWKmGzH65
April 28, 2021
Share with your food system networks and communities....interested to learn how entrepreneurs are finding pathways to enter the market, and shared kitchens seem to be growing in number as one key pathway. https://t.co/IrEe8QIHRm
April 13, 2021
The May USDA Local Food System Webinar discussion will combine Fall 2020 consumer survey findings with perspectives from industry leaders. To register for the April 19th webinar, go to: https://t.co/FN8BBtoryW @USDA_AMS #COVID19 https://t.co/oSHZd4VOr0 localfoodecon photo
March 28, 2021
A number of USDA AMS grants are open for competition now, and more will be released soon....keep your local food systems network aware of opportunities. https://t.co/7x67DZ6YQp
March 15, 2021
Great conversation led by those innovating in the online platform space....food markets are going to require more creative, customer-friendly technology moving forward https://t.co/fBjZM4kS6w https://t.co/63EVCT0yCR localfoodecon photo
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