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.

This project provides open-access tools and data to illustrate areas of need and opportunities to close equity gaps related to nutrition, food access, food system labor, and agriculture and food business ownership.

To better understand and inform regional approaches to food system governance, this project centers on the contributions and insight offered by participants in a community of practice that includes representatives from 11 regional councils. These councils reflect a diversity of approaches to regional food system work from across the United States.

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

Economic Impact Assessment of Public Incentives to Support Farm to School Food Purchases
Farm to school is widely supported by policymakers: this webinar shares results on program impacts from Cornell University.
May 18th, 1-2pm (EST)
Register at:

Call for submission on a new Special Issue: The Role and Scope of Agricultural and Applied Economics Departments @AAEA_Economics

Communities across the US are seeing shared kitchens as a way to support the food entrepreneurs in their region. These USDA-sponsored case studies and reports share some great insights on successful projects across the country

Planning to open a shared kitchen? Get all of your questions answered, gain access to resources and networking at The Food Corridor’s Shared Kitchen 101 Workshop March 5th, leading up to InTents: The Farmers Market Conference 2023 @TheFoodCorridor

Vermont is hiring several positions! CDAE is a unique dept that includes disciplines often found in individual departments at land grants—applied and ag economics, communication, entrepreneurship, community centered design, and community and international development.

We are so happy to have these new resources embedded in our community's website, including the new data platform, Thanks for the support for this project @USDA_AMS

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We invite you to the Consumer Food Insights Series 3.0 Webinar, co-hosted by USDA AMS and Colorado State University. In this webinar, the project team will present new findings from their third nationwide survey of food purchasing and consumer behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings may help guide Local and Regional Food Systems (LRFS) business, policy makers, and community organizations.

Date: Thursday, April 25, 2024

Time: 10 AM Mountain Time (12 PM Eastern Time)

Register in Advance Here: