Sources and Resources for “Is Local Food Better?”


Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

A research and education center focused on sustainable agriculture, housed at Iowa State University. Of particular relevance to this article is the Center's Marketing and Food Systems Initiative (, which has done a variety of products on transport and other aspects of local food systems. The research that yielded the oft-quoted statistic that food in the United States travels 1,500 miles from farm to consumer is summarized in the Food, Fuel, and Freeways report ( 


Food Climate Research Network

Internet clearinghouse, curated by Tara Garnett, of research focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the UK and global food system. Of particular interest is the recent report Cooking Up a Storm (, which contains a thorough life-cycle analysis of the food system and a helpfully concrete investigation of the potential consequences of various policy choices.


Weber, C.L., and H.S. Matthews. 2008. Food-miles and the relative climate impacts of food choices in the United States. Environmental Science & Technology 42(10):3508-3513.

Life-cycle analysis of the demonstrating that meat and dairy production is a clear greenhouse gas "hotspot" of the U.S. food system.


Hinrichs, C.C. 2003. The practice and politics of food system localization. Journal of Rural Studies 19:33-45.

A scholarly investigation of the shifting meanings of "local."


Seattle Food System Enhancement Project

The Greenhouse Gas Report done as part of this study by University of Washington students provides some useful examples of how production and transport to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions associated with specific foodstuffs.


100-Mile Diet

Blog, forum, and resources from the Vancouver, Canada-based authors of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating (U.S. title: Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet).

The project that launched the term "locavore." Many of the resources available through this Website are San Francisco Bay Area-focused.


USDA Farmers Market Database

Find farmers markets in the United States.


Local Harvest CSA Database

Find community-supported agriculture arrangements in the United States.