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

Latest Tweets

September 24, 2020
Join our team for a new Webinar series featuring this USDA Ag Marketing Service's collaborators focused on lessons learned navigating food supply chains during COVID. 1st webinar is Oct 19th (continuing monthly). Register at:
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September 15, 2020
Looking for ways to adapt your food business?

Find ideas on the Local Food Systems COVID Resource Hub:

The hub was developed by @usda with researchers from @UKYAgEcon and input from 16 partner organizations.
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August 31, 2020
Regenerative is the new sustainable, which was the new local, which was the new organic. It's a halo treadmill. And, a corporatization treadmill.
August 24, 2020
As a new initiative, the USDA AMS is collaborating with several of key partners to explore local and regional food supply chain responses to COVID....visit this site to see what our partners are doing, with updates throughout the coming year. @USDA_AMS
August 16, 2020
Are you a meat producer (or work with one) who is selling direct or considering a new marketing strategy? This fall, several Western states will host a "Meat School" which has some local offerings, but will be fully available online as well.
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