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.


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

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October 28, 2020
"The butcher bottleneck is holding back farmers at a time when farmers could be expanding to take advantage of those new local markets," - Bobbi Wilson @wifarmersunion
October 28, 2020
Produce farmers, what still worries you about the FSMA Produce safety rule? / Do you have questions? We want to know how we can help with our @LFSC project! #foodsafety #FSMA #localfood
October 28, 2020
TODAY! Join our #LunchChat with @FoodCorps today (Wednesday, 10/28) from 12-1pm ET. We'll be talking school meals, the essential workers who are keeping children fed & the ongoing action needed to ensure a just food system for all. Hope to see you there! #F2SMonth #farmtoschool localfoodecon photo
October 28, 2020
Happy to be speaking later in the day with my colleague @rebeccabr and in a session with @hortbizpurdue at this conference. Will be interesting to hear the vision of these USDA leaders. @USDA_ERS
October 19, 2020
“If you look at where value comes from and where the money goes in the food industry,” Breitenmoser told me, “I, as Joe Farmer, have more in common with Bob, the guy in the slaughtering plant, than I do with the CEO of a foreign agribusiness corporation.” localfoodecon photo
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