Sources and Resources for “Local Food: The Economics”


"Finding Food in Farm Country" Studies


Summaries of various studies of how the industrial food system affects the economies of farming communities, by Crossroads Resource Center president Ken Meter.


Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture links, including Swensen study


A research and education center focused on sustainable agriculture, housed at Iowa State University. Of particular note among the publications available at the link above are:

Swenson, Dave. 2008. "Estimating the Production and Market-Value Based Impacts of Nutritional Goals in NE Iowa."

Swenson, David. 2006. "The Economic Impacts of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption in Iowa: Phase II."


Plugging the Leaks


A program of the U.K.-based New Economics Foundation that offers tools for community economic development. The program uses the metaphor of the "leaky bucket" to illustrate the importance of keeping money circulating within a community, and the consequences of it draining away. Not just about food but addresses the full scope of local economies. 


Why Local Linkages Matter

An analysis of the Seattle-area food system by independent economist Viki Sonntag that documents the economic benefits that would be created by increased spending in the local food economy.


Müller, B. "Food Miles or Poverty Eradication? The moral duty to eat African strawberries at Christmas." Oxford Energy and Environment Comment, October 2007.


This author points out the potential downsides of the local food movement for developing countries, where many livelihoods depend on exporting food to wealthier nations.


Jules Pretty


Author and sustainable-agriculture expert based at the University of Essex in the UK.


Jaffee, D., J.R. Kloppenburg, Jr., and M.B. Monroy. 2004. "Binging the ‘Moral Charge' Home: Fair Trade within the North and within the South."Rural Sociology 69(2):169-196.


A scholarly investigation of the principles behind fair-trade programs, and how these can also be applied to relationships at other geographical scales.


Born, B., and M. Purcell. 2006. "Aoiding the Local Trap: Scale and food systems in planning research."Journal of Planning Education and Research 26:195-207.


This paper argues that there's no virtue inherent in local as opposed to other scales, and we should think of local food as a means, not an end.


Rose Bakery's Potatoes Gribiche

A fine thing to do with farmers-market potatoes.