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Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
Market Forces Report
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Market Forces Report

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  • 1. Market ForcesC R E AT I N G J O B S T H R O U G H P U B L I C I N V E S T M E N T IN LOC AL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS
  • 2. Market ForcesCREATING JOBS THROUGH PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS Jeffrey K. O’Hara AUGUST 2011
  • 3. ii UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS © 2011 Union of Concerned Scientists All rights reserved Je rey K. O’Hara is an agricultural economist in the Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program. e Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is the leading science-based nonpro t working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scienti c research and citizen action to develop innovative practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices. e goal of the UCS Food and Environment Program is a food system that encourages innovative and environmentally sustainable ways to produce high-quality, safe, and a ordable food while ensuring that citizens have a voice in how their food is grown. More information is available on the UCS website at www.ucsusa.org/ food_and_agriculture. is report is available in PDF format on the UCS website (www.ucsusa.org/publications) or may be obtained from: UCS Publications 2 Brattle Square Cambridge, MA 02238-9105 Or, email pubs@ucsusa.org or call (617) 547-5552. Design: DG Communications, Acton, MA www.Nonpro tDesign.com Cover images: (top left & right) © iStockphoto.com/Bruce Block; (lower left) © iStockphoto.com/Eric Delmar Printed on recycled paper
  • 4. MARKET FORCES iiiTable of ContentsFigures and Tables ivAcknowledgments vE X E C U T I V E S U M M A RY 1CHAPTER 1Description of Local Food Systems 6Types of Direct Marketing 6Demand for Local Food 7Supply of Local Food 7Farmers Markets 9Community-Supported Agriculture 10Local and Regional Food Systems Have Scalability Challenges 10CHAPTER 2Supporting Local and Regional Food Systems Is Sound Policy 14Objectives of Government 14Local and Regional Food Systems Can Support Public Objectives 14Local and Regional Food Systems and Food Security 15CHAPTER 3Local and Regional Food Systems Provide Positive Regional Economic Impacts 16Quantifying the Economic Impacts of an Industry or Sector 16Direct Marketing Can Foster Regional Economic Development 17Local and Regional Food Systems Can Result in Sector-Specific Economic Growth 18Economic Impacts of Farm-to-School Programs 21Farmers Markets Can Increase Sales at Neighboring Businesses 21Local and Regional Food Systems Can Increase Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship 22Responses to Arguments against Supporting Local-Food-System Development 22
  • 5. iv UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS CHAPTER 4 Local and Regional Food Systems Can Have Positive Social, Health, and Environmental Impacts 23 Local Food Systems Can Promote Healthier Food-Product Choices 23 Local Food Systems Can Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Our Overall Food System 25 Local Food Systems Can Promote Community Interaction 26 CHAPTER 5 Investing in Local and Regional Food Systems and Creating Jobs 27 Initial Funding Can Help New Farmers Markets Succeed 27 Programs that Support Local and Regional Food Systems 28 Determining the Economic Implications of Supporting Farmers Markets 30 CHAPTER 6 Conclusions and Policy Recommendations 32 REFERENCES 34 F I G U R E S A N D TA B L E S Figures ES-1. U.S. Farmers Market Locations, 2010 5 1. Small Farms Account for a Greater Proportion of Agricultural Product Sales from Direct Marketing 8 2. Products Sold by Vendors at Farmers Markets 8 3. Percentage of Farmers Markets with Labeled Products 9 4. The Number of Farmers Markets in the United States Has Increased Rapidly 9 5. Marketing Assistance Needs Identified by Farmers Market Vendors 12 6. Food Products Sold at Food Hubs 13 7. U.S. Principal Operator by Age: Farmers Are Aging 16 8. U.S. Agricultural Acreage by Product: Fruits and Vegetables Account for a Small Fraction of Land 19 Tables 1. States with the Greatest Number of Farmers Markets Per Capita 10 2. Economic Impacts of Farmers Markets 18 3. Economic Impacts of Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption 20 4. Potential Employment Impacts of Reauthorizing the Federal Farmers Market Promotion Program 31
  • 6. MARKET FORCES vAcknowledgments is report was made possible in part through the generous supportof the David B. Gold Foundation, the New York Community Trust, theClif Bar Family Foundation, the Tomchin Family Charitable Foundation,the Deer Creek Foundation, and UCS members.For their reviews of the report, the author would like to thank DavidSwenson of Iowa State University, David Hughes of Clemson University,Larry Lev of Oregon State University, and Stacy Miller of the FarmersMarket Coalition. e time involved in reviewing a paper of this lengthis considerable, and their comments and suggestions greatly improved it.At UCS, the author thanks Margaret Mellon and Karen Perry Stillermanfor the many useful suggestions they provided. eir advice, encouragement,and helpful editing in uenced the report’s nal form.We would also like to thank Steven J. Marcus for copyediting the reportand David Gerratt for his design and layout. e opinions and information contained in this report, being the soleresponsibility of the author, do not necessarily re ect those of thefoundations that supported it or the individuals who reviewed andcommented on it.
  • 7. MARKET FORCES 1Executive Summary © iStockphoto.com/Bruce BlockWhen strolling through a local farmers market you may surprising data on their potential to create jobs in thosewell be struck by the many ways in which the food communities. Finally, the report addresses some chal-o ered for sale di ers from typical mass-produced and lenges that local and regional food systems must meet-marketed food products. For starters, healthful pro- if they are to grow further, and it recommends publicduce items dominate the farmers market, and they are policies that could help promote and expand thesetypically fresher and more avorful than supermarket systems in the future.produce. Moreover, the presence of the farmers puts aface on who grew the food and re ects where and how THE RISE OF LOCAL AND REGIONALit was grown. FOOD SYSTEMS Less apparent to the casual shopper, however, are Markets for locally and regionally produced food arethe important economic bene ts that farmers mar- now ubiquitous across the United States. Most of themkets—and the local and regional food systems behind emerged over the last several decades through the tire-them—can provide to rural and urban communities less e orts of entrepreneurs, community organizers,alike. In this report, the Union of Concerned Scientists farmers, and food and farm policy advocates. In par-(UCS) explores the recent remarkable growth of ticular, farmers markets and community-supportedfarmers markets and other manifestations of local and agriculture systems (CSAs)—in which consumersregional food systems, describes key features of these buy shares of local farm harvests in advance and thensystems, evaluates their economic and other impacts routinely reap the bene ts in the form of fresh food—on the communities in which they operate, and o ers have expanded rapidly and are now established as family- Conservative estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest that more than 136,000 farms are currently selling food products directly to consumers.
  • 8. 2 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS The USDA, in its “MyPlate” dietary through direct consumer marketing channels reached $1.2 billion in 2007. guidelines, recommends that Americans e demand for local food has been driven by eat significantly more fruits and consumers who wish to support local farms and other businesses, to purchase healthful food that is fresh and vegetables; in many regions, local tends to be sustainably produced, to interact with farmers could grow a substantial farmers, and to learn more about the food they grow portion of this additional produce. and that consumers eat. e enthusiasm for local and regional foods has also arisen, at least in part, as a back- lash against the de ciencies of our consolidated food production, processing, and distribution system. shopping venues in many cities and towns. Schools, Local and regional food-product sales often occur restaurants, supermarkets, and other mainstream insti- through direct marketing channels. For example, a tutions are also buying food from local farmers. As a farmer could sell food products either directly to a result, innovative farmers are able to develop and expand consumer, such as at a farmers market, at a roadside businesses that generate income in rural communities. stand, or through a CSA; or directly to a retail institu- Most of these markets were independently conceived tion, such as a restaurant, grocery store, or school. as grassroots initiatives, and as such each of them con- Farmers who sell their food through direct marketing tributes uniquely to its community. ese achievements channels tend to operate smaller farms with a variety have been particularly remarkable in that they have of products, such as fruits and vegetables; engage in been mostly self-su cient—realized without the gov- entrepreneurial activities; and follow environmentally ernment subsidies that the increasingly consolidated sustainable production practices. ese farmers can of- mainstream food system receives. ten earn greater pro ts by selling their products through is report shows that local and regional food sys- local food systems than by selling them to a wholesaler tems could expand further, with the potential for cre- in the consolidated food system. In addition, the op- ating tens of thousands of jobs in rural communities— portunity to interact with consumers provides these many of which are struggling economically—and farmers with rsthand information on the demand in urban communities as well. For example, the U.S. for their products. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in its “MyPlate” dietary guidelines, recommends that Americans eat 2. The economic, environmental, and signi cantly more fruits and vegetables; in many re- health impacts of local and regional food gions, local farmers could grow a substantial portion systems depend on how consumers’ of this additional produce in peak growing season. Re- purchasing decisions are altered. gional food systems could also increase market access ere are a multitude of reasons for seeking local and for regional meat and dairy producers, thereby helping regional alternatives to the current consolidated U.S. to foster competition in markets that have experienced food system. For one thing, that system accounts for signi cant consolidation in recent decades. Overall, the 16 percent of the country’s energy use and is a signi - expansion of local and regional food systems could cant contributor to climate change. For another, the complement the nation’s existing mechanisms for food overconsumption of unhealthful processed foods con- production, distribution, and consumption. Greater tributes to Americans’ increased rates of weight gain investment in local and regional food systems would and obesity, which have considerable health conse- thus be an essential step for agriculture policies that quences and large associated societal costs. seek to support such economic activity. Fresh fruits and vegetables are particularly well suited Among the report’s major ndings are: to distribution through direct marketing because they are mostly unprocessed. Communities could see health 1. Local and regional food systems are an bene ts if patrons of local-food markets consequently expanding part of our food system. ate more of these healthful but underconsumed items. Local and regional food-product markets have grown ere could also be environmental bene ts from re- rapidly in recent years and have become entrenched. duced energy usage if diets shifted to eating unprocessed e number of farmers markets in the United States food as a substitute for heavily processed foods. increased from just 340 in 1970 to more than 7,000 While more research is needed to demonstrate how today, and there are now more than 4,000 CSAs. e consumers’ shopping behavior may be altered as a result USDA reports that the sales of agricultural products of buying foods produced nearby, available evidence
  • 9. MARKET FORCES 3 © iStockphoto.com/Bruce BlockModest public funding for 100 to labor, have little access to capital, and are nonpro t in- stitutions. Even a small amount of support could help500 otherwise-unsuccessful farmers a farmers market become stabilized through, say, themarkets a year could create as many as hiring of a market manager, the installation of an elec- tronic bene t transfer machine, and outreach e orts.13,500 jobs over a five-year period. For example, modest public funding for 100 to 500 otherwise-unsuccessful farmers markets a year couldsuggests that local and regional food systems could help create as many as 13,500 jobs over a ve-year period.promote the consumption of these products. Local and regional food systems could also lead to job growth through other marketing channels—for3. Local and regional food systems can have example, when greater consumption of fresh fruits andpositive e ects on regional economies. vegetables draws on produce supplied locally or region- e expansion of local and regional food systems sup- ally. Various studies have suggested that this phenom-ports employment, incomes, and output in rural com- enon could lead to thousands more jobs in the Midwestmunities. Direct marketing channels, such as farmers alone, even if land allocated to fruits and vegetablesmarkets, stimulate rural economies because a greater displaced some production of corn and soybeans. esepercentage of the sales revenue is retained locally. Fur- kinds of positive economic results could also occur inther, farmers may purchase equipment and raw mate- other geographic regions or for other food-productrials from local suppliers. Such transactions increase sectors, such as meat and dairy.labor and consequently household incomes, which re-sult in additional spending. An important nding from 4. Local and regional food systems havethe literature is that under various scenarios, further scalability challenges, some of which canexpansion of local and regional food systems has the be addressed through public policy.potential to create tens of thousands of additional jobs. While local and regional food systems have become One approach to increasing local and regional food- more prominent, several challenges remain that couldproduct sales is to support the development of direct hinder further development. ere are geographicmarketing channels. Such support is invaluable because and seasonal limitations—owing to climate variationestablishing a local-food market, such as a farmers mar- and soil attributes—on the extent to which local andket, can be a daunting exercise—many farmers markets regional food systems can be established. ere alsoare community-based and -initiated, rely on volunteer must be an appropriate balance of urban populations
  • 10. 4 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS and rural land to ensure that there is both an adequate that they provide to larger-scale commodity crop demand and su cient supply. Such balance is particu- farmers. More scale-appropriate mechanisms for pro- larly important for meat and dairy products, which viding whole-farm revenue insurance and credit, for may require scale for production. example, would be helpful to many small farmers who Moreover, while direct consumer marketing has been produce food for local and regional consumption. a common method to date for selling locally produced Some of these challenges (among the aforemen- food, it too can have scale limitations. Local institu- tioned and elsewhere) could be addressed through tions, processing infrastructure, or regulations may forward-thinking policies and sound investments re- be inadequate—e.g., lacking su cient capacity—for lated to farms, food, and local development. We now allowing local and regional food systems to prosper. identify such public policy solutions. us the cultivation of additional institutional arrange- ments, which has occurred with schools but could also RECOMMENDATIONS apply to mainstream supermarkets and other sectors, While the number and in uence of local and regional is important. Speci cally, innovations such as “food food systems have grown substantially, many issues hubs”—locations at which farmers can drop o local- must be resolved if they are to continue increasing in ly produced food and distributors and consumers can scale and become more integrated into the existing food pick it up—are promising options. system. Further, future e orts to expand local and re- An additional challenge is that existing USDA pro- gional food systems should aim to complement and grams may be inadequate for providing the same type reinforce—not substitute for—already established of support and assistance to local-food-system farmers local-food-market institutions, such as farmers markets or CSAs. Speci cally, the Union of Concerned Scientists recommends that: Congress and the USDA, in coordination with other relevant agencies, should increase funding for programs that support local and regional food systems. ree types of programs, if funded at increased levels, could foster the continued growth of local and region- al food systems: (1) rural development programs that provide funds for investing in infrastructure to support local and regional food systems; (2) programs that of- fer assistance to farmers market managers, schools, and other local-food-system administrators; and (3) nutri- tion programs that provide nancial assistance to low- income consumers who wish to purchase healthful food at local-food markets. Moreover, among the multiple federal agencies that administer the various programs that support and promote local food systems, continued and improved coordination is critically important. By organizing pro- grams within one title in the federal farm bill, Congress could e ectively bring together these seemingly dis- parate programs while also raising the pro le of local and regional food systems. The USDA, together with academic and other © iStockphoto/Thinkstock policy institutes, should raise the level of research on the impacts of local and regional food systems, particularly regarding their expansion. Funding more research for local and regional food sys- tems is essential for e ective future agricultural policy,
  • 11. MARKET FORCES 5Figure ES-1. U.S. Farmers Market Locations, 2010 Source: Agricultural Marketing Service 2010.This map shows the distribution of thousands of farmers markets across the country, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.and obtaining more precise data on marketing channels commodities, would be bene cial. In addition, ensur-for local and regional food sales is especially important. ing that farmers selling through local food systems haveOther research priorities include the study of how the access to a ordable credit, either from Farm Creditinstallation of farmers markets and other local-food System banks or from state nancing authorities, couldoutlets in uences consumers’ shopping habits relative allow these farmers to develop and expand theirto their behavior in the absence of such markets, and businesses. Lastly, cost-share programs that provide as-the e ects on low-income people of nutrition programs sistance to organic farmers in obtaining certi cationthat facilitate patronage of farmers markets. could also help them sell food products in local and In addition, research on the feasibility of establish- regional markets.ing local and regional food systems on a greater scalein speci ed areas would help identify where some of Local governments and community organizationsthe most signi cant economic impacts could be real- should foster local capacity to help implementized. Such research would feature comparisons of the local and regional food-system plans.potential regional supply (based, for example, on soil e establishment of local and regional food systemscharacteristics, land availability, and climate conditions) requires a good deal of local e ort and coordination.with the potential demand (based on population, con- When funding is available, there must be evidence thatsumer preferences, and income). is line of research local capacity is su cient to absorb it and that localcould also illuminate the land-use implications of local food initiatives have reasonable prospects for success.food systems geared to increase production of fruits, In addition, assistance should be provided to prospec-vegetables, or other food products. tive applicants for developing business plans, conduct- ing outreach, and seeking funding opportunities.Congress and the USDA should restructure thesafety net and ensure credit accessibility for Farmers market administrators should supportlocal-food-system farmers. the realization of farmers market certi cationMany attributes of existing agricultural programs are standards.not well suited to supporting farms and other produc- e development of certi cation standards by farmersers that market their food within localized systems. market administrators could help ensure the integrityFor example, insurance focused on single crops, as is of direct-to-consumer marketing systems. Standardstypical, is not convenient for farmers growing a suc- provide con dence to consumers that vendors arecession of vegetables throughout the growing season. involved in the production of the food they sell and us the development of whole-farm revenue insur- are undertaking environmentally sustainable produc-ance, as an alternative to crop insurance for speci ed tion practices.
  • 12. 6 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS CHAPTER 1 Description of Local Food Systems © iStockphoto.com/Bruce Block As major segments of the U.S. industrialized food sys- TYPES OF DIRECT MARKETING tem have consolidated and become increasingly remote ere are multiple de nitions of local and regional food from consumers, an alternative food system—one that systems. Certain federal programs de ne them as sys- offers locally produced food—has emerged. This tems that market food either less than 400 miles from section describes the various types of such direct mar- its origin or within the state where it was produced. keting mechanisms, why some consumers demand Local food systems are also associated with marketing locally produced food, the kinds of farmers that pro- arrangements whereby farmers sell products directly to duce and sell it, the marketing channels used and the a consumer or retailer without using a wholesale sup- institutions involved, and obstacles that must be over- plier. Although “direct marketing” is often used as a come for local and regional food systems to increase proxy for “local food systems”—because it is easier to their sales and also to become more integrated into the de ne and measure, and also because there is consid- existing food system. erable overlap at present—the two concepts are distinct.
  • 13. MARKET FORCES 7Food sold via direct marketing does not have to be • Lack of awareness of the existence of local foodlocally produced, and vice versa. markets One type of direct marketing involves a farmer sell- • Inaccessibility, inconvenience, or lack of proximitying food directly to consumers—at a roadside stand, • Higher prices (whether perceived or actual) forU-pick operation, or farmers market, for example, or locally produced foodthrough subscription programs known as community- • Lack of variety of food, or too-small quantitiessupported agriculture (CSA). A New York study foundthat full-time direct marketing farmers used a variety Food retailers have additional challenges associated withof direct marketing channels, while part-time direct purchasing local food, such as in ordering, delivery,marketing farmers reported a greater percentage of sales and reliability. Nonetheless, for retailers and consum-in farmers markets (Lyson, Gillespie, and Hilchey ers alike, the obstacles cited are not associated with the1995). In 2007, 136,817 farms sold agricultural prod- desirability of the food product.ucts directly to individuals for human consumption,with sales totaling $1.2 billion (USDA 2009, Table SUPPLY OF LOCAL FOOD58), although challenges associated with measuring Some farmers can obtain greater revenue by selling fooddirect marketing sales suggest that this number is un- via direct marketing in local markets than by sellingderstated (e.g., Brown 2002). e reported number of food to wholesalers. at is, direct marketing allowsfarms engaged in direct consumer marketing in 2007 local food producers to retain most, if not all, of therepresented a 17 percent increase from 2002. Although revenue from the retail sale of their product; they can6 percent of all farms are involved in direct consumer receive up to seven times greater net revenue on a per-sales, they account for only 0.4 percent of total agri- unit basis from selling locally than in conventionalcultural sales. markets (King et al. 2010). ese advantages can have Instead of selling directly to consumers, farmers important nancial implications for farmers, as mar-could sell food directly to either a retail facility or keting costs accounted for 84 percent of the U.S. retailfood service institution, thus bypassing the wholesale sales value of food products in 2008 (Canning 2011).distribution system. For example, a farmer could sell However, they must also market the product them-products directly to a grocery store, restaurant, hospi- selves, which can incur unpaid labor costs of 13 per-tal, or school. Institutional marketing is generally more cent to 62 percent of the retail price (King et al. 2010).feasible for a group of farmers, which underscores the Some consumers may be willing to pay a higher priceimportance of developing cooperative structures. for locally produced food, although food products will generally need to have other attributes, such as beingDEMAND FOR LOCAL FOOD grown through sustainable production practices, to ere are various reasons why some consumers and re- receive a premium (King et al. 2010). Farmers may alsotailers are purchasing locally produced food. According engage in direct marketing for the opportunity toto a recent literature review (Martinez et al. 2010), socially interact with consumers and retain indepen-these buyers: dence from intermediary purchasers, processors, and• Believe local food is fresher retailers. Finally, a major bene t of direct marketing is• Believe local food is of better quality that farmers can obtain rsthand, real-time feedback• Want to support local businesses and producers about products that customers desire, and then can• Want to know the source of the food adapt their business accordingly.• Want food with greater nutritional value Who are the farmers who supply food to local• Prefer food grown through environmentally food markets? We discuss four characteristics of these sustainable practices (e.g., organic) farmers, using direct consumer marketing as a proxy• Enjoy the shopping experience for local food sales.• Can obtain a greater variety of food• Can pay lower prices Farmers Who Engage in Direct Consumer Marketing Tend to Operate Smaller1 FarmsAs reported by the same researchers, the largest ob- Figure 1 (p. 8) shows that farms of fewer than 50stacles that consumers cite for not buying local food acres account for 29 percent of U.S. direct consumer-include: marketing agricultural sales, but only 2 percent of total1 “Smaller” may apply either to farm revenue or acreage. Starr et al. (2003) and Hunt (2007), in case studies in Colorado and Maine, respectively, found that direct marketing farmers produced their food on small-acreage farms.
  • 14. 8 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS Figure 1. Small Farms Account for a Greater farmers accounted for 57 percent of the value of direct Proportion of Agricultural Product Sales consumer marketing sales (USDA 2009). from Direct Marketing 100% Farmers Who Engage in Direct Consumer Mar- 90% keting Tend to be Fruit and Vegetable Producers 80% Fruits and vegetables are well suited to direct market- 70% ing because they require little processing. Vegetable/ melon and fruit/tree-nut producers each account for 60% 28 percent of the value of all agricultural products sold 50% via direct consumer marketing (USDA 2009). Forty- 40% four percent of all vegetable and melon producers sell 30% directly to consumers, as do 17 percent of fruit and nut 20% producers, but only 7 percent of livestock producers 10% and 2 percent of those growing non-fruit-or-vegetable 0% crops (grains, for example) seek direct consumer sales Direct Marketing Total Sales (Martinez et al. 2010). Figure 2 shows that 92 percent 1,000 acres or more 50 to 999 acres 1 to 49 acres of farmers markets have vendors who sell fresh fruits Source: USDA 2009. and vegetables, while 45 percent of vendors at farmers markets sell fresh fruits and vegetables. agricultural sales, and these percentages are respec- tively 62 percent and 30 percent for farms of 50 to 999 Farmers Who Engage in Direct Consumer acres. Similarly, according to the USDA’s 2007 Cen- Marketing Tend to Engage in Environmentally sus of Agriculture, farmers with less than $250,000 in Sustainable Production Practices2 annual sales represented 96 percent of the farms that Figure 3 shows that common product labels at farmers engaged in direct consumer marketing, and those markets include “locally grown,” “organic,” “chemical- Figure 2. Products Sold by Vendors at Farmers Markets 100% 90% % of U.S. farmers markets 80% selling selected products 70% % of U.S. vendors selling selected products at farmers markets 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% es s es s g y ds ds y d r bl er rv od kin ltr o o air fo o he et a ow es e go or po u fo fo d ea Ot d d d or s ve g nd pr ke dw to r re se ilk or a d Ba oo ep a es M nd bs an rw ea Pr oc Fis h a r s, M Pr its He ut ts o fru ,n af h ey Cr es n Fr Ho Source: Ragland and Tropp 2009. 2 See also Starr et al. 2003 and Hunt 2007.
  • 15. MARKET FORCES 9free” or “pesticide-free,” “natural,” “pasture-raised/free- Figure 3. Percentage of Farmers Marketsrange,” and “hormone-free” or “antibiotic-free.” ese with Labeled Productslabels are intended for education and marketing pur- 70%poses, as consumers use this information to decidewhether to purchase food. 60% Local food markets are particularly important for 50%organic producers. More than 17 percent of USDA- 40%organic products are sold through direct consumer and 30%retail marketing (USDA 2010; USDA 2009). Organ-ic direct-marketing farmers earned 75 percent on aver- 20%age more than their nonorganic counterparts, and they 10%sold a larger quantity of commodities than organic 0%farmers who did not engage in direct marketing y e/ d/ / r all n ic al ee he oc ow an re l-f free ur ise -fr free Ot(Martinez et al. 2010). In any case, organic farming L r rg at ra e O ica e- N e- e on ic-has important implications for supporting more food g emticid st ur rang r m iotproduction: 78 percent of organic farmers stated in Ch es Pa ree- Ho ntib p f a2008 that they intended to maintain or expand their Source: Ragland and Tropp 2009.organic operations over the next ve years.3 Figure 4. The Number of Farmers Markets inFarmers Who Engage in Direct Consumer the United States Has Increased RapidlyMarketing Tend to Operate Diverse Farms and 8,000Undertake Entrepreneurial ActivitiesSmall farms with direct sales often grow multiple prod- 7,000 Number of U.S. Farmers’ Marketsucts (Starr et al. 2003). Farms that engage in direct 6,000marketing with no additional on-farm entrepreneurialactivities earn $6,844 in average direct sales per farm, 5,000but farms that engage in three additional on-farm en- 4,000trepreneurial activities earn $28,651 (Martinez et al.2010). Small farms involved in direct marketing con- 3,000stitute 28 percent of farmers that produce on-farmvalue-added goods such as processed products; such 2,000farms also constitute 33 percent of participants in CSAs 1,000and 49 percent of organic producers (Martinez et al.2010). Farmers market vendors have expanded exist- 0ing product lines, begun additional processing, devel- 94 96 98 00 02 04 06 08 09 10 11 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20oped mailing lists, made new business contacts, and Source: USDA 2011b.sharpened their customer relations, merchandising, andpricing skills (Feenstra et al. 2003). designed to allow farmers to directly sell their products to consumers.FARMERS MARKETS Farmers markets once constituted a conventionalWe examine farmers markets in more detail in this sec- channel for selling fresh food in the United States,tion because of their role as a potential keystone of particularly in cities. roughout the early and middleemerging local food systems (Gillespie et al. 2007), parts of the twentieth century, the number of farmerstheir unique role in facilitating direct marketing—sales markets decreased as the food system consolidated, in-at farmers markets exceeded $1 billion in 2005 (Rag- terstate highways were developed, and large irriga-land and Tropp 2009)—and the superior data about tion projects allowed produce to be grown far awayfarmers markets in comparison to other local food mar- from consumers. By 1970, only 340 farmers marketskets. While no consistent legal de nition of farmers were left in the country (Brown 2001). is trend hasmarkets yet exists (Briggs et al. 2010), they are gen- reversed itself in recent decades, however. Figure 4erally conceptualized as structured market settings indicates that the number of farmers markets in the3 Online at www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Fact_Sheets/organics.pdf, accessed July 2, 2011.
  • 16. 10 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS Table 1. States with the Greatest Number rules requiring that vendors sell products that they of Farmers Markets Per Capita produce themselves (Ragland and Tropp 2009). # of Farmers COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE Rank State Markets A CSA system is traditionally an arrangement whereby 1 Vermont 84 a consumer purchases a “share” of on-farm produce from a farmer early in the year and receives a weekly 2 North Dakota 56 delivery of fresh produce throughout the growing sea- 3 Iowa 232 son (e.g., UCS 2009; Brown and Miller 2008). Fruits and vegetables typically predominate, though other 4 New Hampshire 90 farm products can be included as well. e bene ts to 5 Hawaii 83 farmers are that they receive payment for their prod- ucts earlier in the calendar year before harvest, they can 6 Maine 77 mitigate the e ects of price or production risks that 7 Wyoming 30 could occur during the growing season, and by having completed their marketing before growing season they 8 Montana 48 can focus exclusively on production. Consumers may 9 Washington, DC 28 prefer this approach because it enables them to support local farmers, obtain food that may be fresher than 10 Idaho 65 store-bought, and learn more information from farm- ers about how the food is grown. CSA models have evolved over time, and some now do not require that consumers buy a share in advance or allow customized United States grew to 1,755 by 1994 and reached 6,132 ordering. One directory estimates that there are cur- by 2010, and there are currently 7,146 operating farm- rently over 4,000 CSAs in the United States.5 ers markets. Table 1 shows the states with the greatest number LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS of farmers markets on a per-capita basis and demon- HAVE SCALABILITY CHALLENGES strates that farmers markets can occur in regions of the While local and regional food systems are experiencing country that do not have large urban centers. Many of growing sales volume, barriers exist to increasing their these states are located in the Midwest (Iowa, North scale. In this section we discuss some of the most Dakota), northern New England (Maine, New Hamp- serious barriers: challenges pertaining to geographic shire, and Vermont), and the Rocky Mountain West limitations; impediments to the e ectiveness of direct (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming). is nonurban- marketing; inadequate institutions, infrastructure, and occurrence phenomenon also holds at the county regulations for facilitating local and regional food level, as rural areas have a greater density of farmers systems; and inadequate agricultural programs for markets on a per-capita basis than do urban areas.4 assisting local-food-system farmers. However, these ndings do not imply that there are higher per-capita purchases of local food in rural areas. Geographic Limitations A farmers market can be administered by some Geographic limitations suggest that food systems could other organization or else become its own organization. be more e ective at regional levels than at exclusively e level and sophistication of a farmers market bureau- local levels (e.g., Clancy and Ruhf 2010). First, region- cracy is generally proportional to its size (Stephenson, al systems can expand product availability throughout Lev, and Brewer 2007). Forty to 45 percent of member the year as a result of varying growing seasons within associations in the Farmers Market Coalition are reg- a region. is local variation can also help mitigate istered as 501(c)(3) nonpro t organizations (Briggs et seasonal bottlenecks at processing facilities by having al. 2010). Most farmers markets are operated on a utilization occur over a longer period. Seasonal uc- seasonal basis (consistent with the growing season), tuations in demand for particular products may exist tend to be in an outdoor public location, and establish as well. 4 See map online at www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/December10/Indicators/On eMap.htm, accessed July 2, 2011. 5 Online at www.localharvest.org/csa, accessed July 3, 2011.
  • 17. MARKET FORCES 11 Second, while farmers markets are well establishedin some rural areas, regional food markets may be bet-ter for products that require scale for production. Inparticular, the construction of processing facilities, suchas slaughterhouses and dairy bottling plants, incur xedcosts that require a su cient customer base to ensurethey are economical—and rural areas may have too fewconsumers to purchase the resulting products. On theother hand, in localities that are predominately urbanthere may be insu cient land to grow food becauseagriculture may not be pro table on land that is rela-tively expensive. e solution appears to lie between these two ex-tremes. Local and regional food systems may have theirgreatest opportunity for scale in regions that have ur-ban population centers with close proximity to ruralareas boasting available farmland (Timmons and Wang2010). Eighty-four percent of the farms that engagein direct marketing are in metropolitan counties or inrural counties adjacent to metro counties, and direct-sales revenue per farm increases as farms become closerto metro regions (Martinez et al. 2010). Research that identi ed regions with the greatestscope for local and regional food systems could be in-valuable in supporting regional economic development.Such research is needed to identify regions that haveboth the capability to supply local food (i.e., they havethe appropriate climate and available farmland withthe needed soil characteristics) and su cient demand © Claire Bloomberg/Bloomberg Photographyto support local food purchases (i.e., metropolitan the net number of farmers markets in Oregon increasedareas with su cient population, income, and con- by 30, with 62 new markets opening and 32 marketssumer preferences). e undertaking of such research closing (Stephenson, Lev, and Brewer 2008).projects is a priority. Such turnover is not surprising, as establishing a farmers market can be a daunting task. Critical deci-Challenges Associated with Direct Marketing sions involve market viability; vendor standards;Direct consumer marketing has grown over the past market administration; risk management associated15 years and may continue to grow in the near future, with insurance, liability, permitting, taxes, and regula-though limitations exist on the extent to which the tion; marketing and outreach; and market infrastruc-numbers of farmers markets and other direct consumer ture investments.6 Other direct consumer marketingmarketing channels can increase (e.g., Ragland and barriers include meeting food safety and processingTropp 2009). ese limitations arise because the de- regulations, facilitating payments for low-income pa-centralized and uncoordinated nature of local food trons with coupons, and understanding local zoningmarkets sometimes presents logistical, awareness, and rules and business permit requirements (Tropp andaccessibility challenges to consumers. Barham 2008). Figure 5 (p. 12) summarizes challenges that farmers market vendors have identi ed with respectFarmers markets to the administration of markets once they are es-While the net number of farmers markets has increased tablished. ese challenges include advertising anddramatically over the past 20 years, there can be con- publicity, local-food promotion campaigns, consumersiderable ux, with markets opening and closing on a targeting, displays, information on customer prefer-continuing basis. For example, between 1998 and 2005 ences and demographics, and business plan development.6 Online at farmersmarketcoalition.org/managerfaqs/#marketingsta , accessed July 3, 2011.
  • 18. 12 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTSFigure 5. Marketing Assistance Needs Identi ed larly critical institutional channel to fostering greaterby Farmers Market Vendors product sales is through mainstream supermarkets90% (King, Gomez, and DiGiacomo 2010). e lack of nancial support, time, and infrastructure are the most80% common barriers that farmers face in direct marketing70% to institutions, implying that farmer co-ops or other60% such groups may be essential to addressing these chal-50% lenges (Martinez et al. 2010; Vogt and Kaiser 2008).40% However, aggregation of food from di erent farmers30% can lead to obstacles in identifying the source of the20% food, should that be necessary (Martinez et al. 2010).10% Food hubs 0% d n g g g s A food hub is a drop-o point for farmers and a pick- an y io s tin rs sin tin ch es g g licit ot ign ge me di ke ear sin nin up location for distributors and customers. It permits in om pa r n ar Bu lan tis ub Pr am Ta nsu ha M res the purchase of source-identi ed local and regional ver p c co e rc pAd M food, coordinates supply-chain logistics, and is a facil- ity for food to be stored, lightly processed, and pack-Source: Ragland and Tropp 2009. aged so that it can be sold under the hub’s regional label. As such, food hubs contribute to the expansion Farmers market organizers or institutions may of local and regional food markets. charge vendor fees to cover the costs associated with e USDA has identi ed more than 100 food hubs market administration, but breaking even on costs can (USDA 2011a), many of which are legally organized be challenging, particularly in the early years of estab- by nonpro t groups or public-sector entities. Sixty per- lishment. Most farmers markets operate on shoestring cent of these food hubs have been operating less than budgets, with the median annual operating budget ve years and on average they have 13 employees each. being about $2,000. As a consequence, 59 percent of Food hub customers include restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets rely exclusively on volunteer workers, colleges or universities, food cooperatives, distributors, and 39 percent have a paid manager with no other school food-service providers, and multi-farm CSAs. employees (Ragland and Tropp 2009). In some loca- Figure 6 shows that while fresh produce is the most tions, extension-service personnel ll the management frequent product sold at food hubs, at least 60 percent function at no charge. Nevertheless, having a paid also sell eggs, dairy, poultry, and meat. Innovative mar- manager is an important sign that the farmers market keting arrangements could be encouraged as food hubs is nancially viable, as mean sales at markets with expand. For example, virtual supermarkets could allow paid managers are ve times higher than at those with consumers to order food products online from a local unpaid managers (Ragland and Tropp 2009). farmer and pick them up the following day. Meat and poultry also have unique direct consumer marketing challenges. Consumers may have food safe- Local Capacity to Support Local and ty concerns about meat in an open-air market or may Regional Food Systems lack a cooler for transporting frozen meat products (Lev ree types of capacity must be fostered to ensure that and Gwin 2010). Also, operating a meat processing sales of local and regional food products are increased. and distribution facility requires specialized skills that First, appropriate expertise and technical assistance are di er from those of farming; this fact can make prob- key assets for developing local food markets (Martinez lematic the successful implementation of a farmer- et al. 2010). For example, given the extensive outreach owned slaughterhouse cooperative. e ort that local and regional food systems must under- take, some regions have developed food plans that doc- Facilitating institutional sales ument the constituent networks, relationships, and Farm-to-school initiatives help schools invest in infra- coordination mechanisms required. Innovative pro- structure and capacity building to position themselves posals such as those outlined in the Iowa Local Food to buy healthful food from local farmers. Analogous & Farm Plan, the Local Food Assessment for Northern opportunities for local food systems could be explored Virginia, and a northeast Ohio report, e 25% Shift, in collaboration with other institutions, such as the address the capacities needed to help ensure the military, prisons, food banks, and hospitals. A particu- successful implementation of such plans.
  • 19. MARKET FORCES 13 Second, the presence of adequate infrastructure is a Figure 6. Food Products Sold at Food Hubsbasic need for local-food-system development (Marti- 100%nez et al. 2010). A challenge to integrating local pro- 90%cessing facilities, such as local slaughterhouses and dairy 80%bottling plants, into direct marketing is the fact thatmany have been closed in recent decades because of 70%consolidation trends (Martinez 2007). In some areas, 60%operating e ciencies could be low at existing facilities 50%because of seasonal bottlenecks (NGFN 2011). 40% ird, food safety regulations must ensure that 30%local and regional food systems can be supported. e 20%2010 Food Safety Modernization Act allows small farms 10%engaged in direct marketing to be exempt from fed- 0%eral requirements, and states are currently developing uc sh ne s/ gs iry try t ns ea ho rve e yguidelines on the products and production scales that od re ai Eg Da ul M Gr pr F Po e esallow smaller food producers to use their own kitchens Prrather than a certi ed commercial kitchen.7 However, Source: USDA 2011a.because not all states have developed regulations, theremay be some confusion among the direct marketing local food markets. First, because these farmers oftenvendors who must ascertain the jurisdictions, require- produce multiple types of food products on their farms,ments, and enforcement procedures that apply to them insurance that is o ered only for a select number of(Tropp and Barham 2008). A recent positive regula- commodity crops may be inadequate. Insurancetory development for local and regional food systems based on whole-farm revenue would be a far moreis a new USDA rule that allows state-inspected meat appropriate safety net for these types of producers.and poultry meeting federal guidelines to be shipped Second, diversified farmers on smaller farms mayacross state lines. have inadequate access to credit, particularly if Farm Credit System banks or regional nancing authoritiesInadequate Support for Local-Food-System are not oriented to providing smaller loans.8 And third,Farmers having organic certi cation can be an important mar- e focus of U.S. agricultural policy is to promote keting attribute for producers who engage in directthe production of select commodity crops. In many marketing, but it can be expensive to obtain. Organicrespects, programs that support commodity crop pro- cost-share programs could be very helpful to farmersducers are not conducive for farmers who sell through in this regard. © iStockphoto.com/ Leonsbox7 Online at farmersmarketcoalition.org/states-advocate-for-legislation-and-regulation-to-support-home-based-micro-processing/, accessed July 3, 2011.8 Online at sustainableagriculture.net/blog/farm-credit-hearing/, accessed July 3, 2011.
  • 20. 14 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS CHAPTER 2 Supporting Local and Regional Food Systems Is Sound Policy OBJECTIVES OF GOVERNMENT industrial agriculture generates. Annual costs of envi- An important role of government is to attempt to en- ronmental and health externalities in the United States sure that markets operate e ciently so that societal from agricultural production are estimated between welfare is maximized. Although unregulated markets $5.7 billion and $16.9 billion (Tegtmeier and Du y 2004). can maximize aggregate welfare in theory, the condi- Whether local and regional food systems reduce the tions under which they are ine cient may warrant social cost of food depends on their comparison with government intervention. Speci c conditions (e.g., Sti- the private production costs, subsidies, and externali- glitz 2000) that can lead to ine cient markets include: ties of food products in the highly consolidated food 1. Failure of competition. ere must be a large system. Measuring these factors is di cult, and they number of buyers and sellers, with low entry and are likely to vary regionally, seasonally, and by food exit barriers, of a product so that rms cannot product. Not all food can be produced locally in all individually in uence market prices. locations, and consumers may buy some food products 2. Public goods. Goods that are nonrivalrous9 and from local farmers but other food products from nonlo- nonexcludable10 will be underprovided by private cal sources. us a critical research objective is to con- markets, given the potential for “free-riding” sider the implications of integrating local and regional (when someone consumes a good or service food products to a greater extent into our current con- without paying for it). solidated food system. 3. Externality. When a transaction a ects an ere are multiple concepts of a “local or regional individual not involved in the transaction, an food system,” and they are often confounding. A nar- externality has occurred. Pollution is an example row approach to quantifying the net incremental of a negative externality. bene ts of local and regional food systems is to assess 4. Incomplete markets. When a private market the implications of proximity of local consumption and does not provide a good or service that consumers production if there was no change in diet for the are willing to purchase, it is said to be incomplete. consumers who purchased locally produced food. 5. Information failures However, there are attributes of local and regional 6. Unemployment, in ation, and disequilibrium food systems that are not associated with geographic proximity. For example, the food-product mix in local LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS and regional food markets di ers from that of con- CAN SUPPORT PUBLIC OBJECTIVES ventional food markets. Local food-product sales are External costs in the U.S. consolidated food system associated with a greater percentage of fruits and arise from the billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies— vegetables and the use of sustainable agricultural directed to commodity crop producers, for example— production practices. that are allocated annually to support that system. Calculating the bene ts of integrating local and re- Such costs also include the negative externalities that gional food products into the conventional food system 9 “Nonrivalrous” implies that if one person consumes the good, this does not reduce the ability of other people to consume the good. 10 “Nonexcludable” implies that it is di cult or impossible to prevent someone from consuming the good.
  • 21. MARKET FORCES 15involves determining how the shopping habits of localfood consumers di ers from what they would havepurchased without access to locally produced food. isis necessary because consumers of local food may endup consuming di erent food products as a consequenceof their patronage. For example, suppose a consumerpurchases a bag of apples at a farmers market. If he orshe had not done so, does this imply that the consum-er would have otherwise purchased nonlocal apples ata supermarket, purchased a di erent food product ata supermarket, eaten a meal at a fast-food restaurant,or made no other purchase? Understanding the impli-cations of this question helps us appreciate the relativebene ts that local food systems provide. e consolidated food system has increased con-sumer access to some fruits and vegetables for high- andmiddle-income people, as it can allow them to buyfood products that may not otherwise be geographi-cally or seasonally available. However, fruits and veg-etables remain underconsumed in the United States(Wells and Buzby 2008). As we evaluate policy designedto increase fruit and vegetable consumption fromeither local or nonlocal sources, it is critical to know © iStockphoto.com/Christopher Futcherwhether local markets generate more of such consump-tion vis-à-vis conventional markets. Regional food sys-tems can also increase market access for regional meatand dairy producers, thereby helping to foster com-petition in markets that have experienced signi cantvertical and horizontal consolidation in recent decades. Research to date indicates that positive regional eco-nomic impacts from local food systems can arise underdi erent scenarios of consumer shopping behavior. Inaddition, while more systematic e orts at examining LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMSsuch behavior are under way, available evidence AND FOOD SECURITYsuggests that local and regional food systems can help One possible public benefit of local and regionalpromote the consumption of more healthful food— food systems that we do not thoroughly evaluate, buta step in the right direction for our food system. Based mention for completeness, is food security. A consoli-on the six criteria listed above, we believe that the dated food system implies that food contaminationfollowing aspects of local and regional food systems could be spread quickly and rapidly, while di use localjustify their public support: and regional food systems could o er greater diver-• Local and regional food systems can provide sification against an outbreak (but possibly entail regional employment opportunities for farmers food safety oversight that is more challenging). e and economic development in local communities. extent to which local and regional food systems pro-• Local and regional food systems have the vide greater food security is important to evaluate in potential to reduce the environmental footprint future research. of our overall food system. A second form of food security that local and re-• Local and regional food systems can promote gional food systems could address is adaptability to healthier eating habits—for example, by climate change. Increased temperatures can mean that encouraging greater consumption of fruits regions that produced signi cant quantities of fruits and vegetables. and vegetables in the past may no longer be capable of• Local and regional food systems promote commu- doing so under arid conditions. us promoting a more nity development by fostering greater connections diversi ed agricultural system can contribute to food- among urban and rural populations. security objectives.
  • 22. 16 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS CHAPTER 3 Local and Regional Food Systems Provide Positive Regional Economic Impacts A critical objective for a community is to promote QUANTIFYING THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS investments that provide sustainable economic pros- OF AN INDUSTRY OR SECTOR perity and employment for its residents. Economic Economic impact analysis provides an estimate of the development is a particularly critical priority in rural local or regional expenditures that arise from the exis- communities (e.g., Vilsack 2010). tence of a market. While its ndings do not indicate If the United States wishes to sustain agricultural whether a market is economically e cient, as discussed production in the future, one priority is to foster in the previous section, economic impact analysis is markets for new farmers, as the country’s farmers are used to measure changes in regional economic growth, collectively aging. Figure 7, a histogram of principal employment, and income. e value of goods and operators by age, shows that 30 percent of farmers are services sold by a business, or the “direct” e ect of a older than 65 years of age. In 2007, the average age of market, is just one component of the market’s econ- the principal farm operator was 57 years—an increase omic impacts. e business must also purchase inputs of two years from 2002 and seven years from 1978. to produce its goods, and these expenditures are the Meanwhile, among new farmers, direct consumer “indirect” e ects of a market. Direct and indirect marketing channels loom large: 40 percent of farmers e ects lead to increases in labor and capital income engaged in direct marketing have fewer than 10 years in households. is results in additional expenditures of experience (Martinez et al. 2010). by households, which are the “induced” e ects of a particular market. e “economic multiplier” of a market is a measureFigure 7. U.S. Principal Operator by Age: of the increase in economic activity that occurs as aFarmers Are Aging consequence of direct market sales.11 Local food sys- 700,000 tems may have other desirable attributes from a com- munity development perspective, such as durability,Number of Principal Operators 600,000 that the comparison of multipliers alone would not 500,000 reveal (Meter 2010). Nonetheless, multipliers do pro- vide a common framework across which comparisons 400,000 in development projects can be evaluated. Research that establishes the economic impacts of 300,000 farmers markets has been based on input-output (I-O) 200,000 models, which establish economic linkages between the outputs of one sector and the inputs of another 100,000 (e.g., Hughes 2003). To undertake such an analysis, 0 farmers market researchers administer surveys of Under 25 35 45 55 65 75 farmers markets within a speci ed region, such as a 25 to 34 to to 54 to 64 to 74 years state, and they then rely on model parameters to de- years years 44 years years years years and over termine the economic impacts of the farmers marketsSource: USDA 2009. 11 e fraction for determining a multiplier is thus the sum of direct, indirect, and induced e ects divided by direct e ects.
  • 23. MARKET FORCES 17 © iStockphoto/Thinkstockon other industries for which primary data have not scenario, a greater percentage of revenue is retainedbeen collected. IMPLAN is a commonly used I-O locally relative to food sold through the wholesale dis-model for this purpose. tribution system. e fraction of expenditures retained I-O models are more accurate for evaluating the locally for purchases through nondirect marketingeconomic impacts of smaller markets that would not channels can depend on the season, as some mainstreamcause relative price changes. Price- exible regional suppliers buy local products during certain times of themodels, such as REMI or a Regional Computable year but not others, and also can depend on the extentGeneral Equilibrium (CGE) Model, are alternatives to to which mainstream suppliers rely on local businesses,IMPLAN. ese general equilibrium models can ex- as retail distribution can often be undertaken at localplicitly account for changes in relative prices due to the levels (King et al. 2010).changes in supply or demand that an initial investment Myles and Hood (2010); Otto (2010); Henneberry,can subsequently cause. Although this approach is Whitacre, and Agustini (2009); and Hughes et al. (2008)preferable for larger sectors, modeling these e ects can all used IMPLAN and survey data to estimate statewidealso make the calculation of results less transparent. economic impacts of farmers markets. ese studies evaluated farmers markets in Mississippi, Iowa, Okla-DIRECT MARKETING CAN FOSTER homa, and West Virginia, respectively. Henneberry,REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Whitacre, and Agustini; Otto; and Myles and Hood e localized economic impacts of local food systems calculated the gross economic impacts of farmers mar-can be greater than those of conventional markets. If kets, as they did not deduct the economic impacts offood is purchased directly from a local farmer, then purchases that were displaced by farmers market pur-most, if not all, of the resulting revenue is retained chases. Hughes et al. assumed that expenditures at Westlocally. If food at a retail institution is purchased Virginia farmers markets displaced expenditures at Westdirectly from a local farmer, then the retail facility Virginia grocery stores, building material stores, andretains a percentage of the sale proceeds and the rest garden supply stores. Calculating displaced purchasesof the money accrues to the farmer. Under either that arise from a farmers market is the correct approach
  • 24. 18 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS Table 2. Economic Impacts of Farmers Markets Henneberry, Whitacre, Hughes et al. (2008) and Agustini (2009) Otto (2010) State West Virginia Oklahoma Iowa # of Farmers Markets in Survey 34 21 152 Survey Respondents Vendors Consumers Consumers Regional Modeling System IMPLAN IMPLAN IMPLAN Increase in Employment Gross 119 jobs; net 82 jobs 113 jobs 576 jobs $59.4 Increase in Gross Output Gross $2.4 million; net $1.1 million $5.9 million million $17.8 Increase in Personal Income Gross $0.7 million; net $0.2 million $2.2 million million Output Multiplier Not reported 1.78 1.55 for determining its net economic impacts, though re- 21 farmers markets in Oklahoma led to a gross search is lacking on the displaced expenditures that increase of 113 jobs, $5.9 million in output (with arise from shopping at a farmers market per se. a multiplier of 1.78), and a $2.2 million increase Survey results can vary depending on whether in income. consumers or producers are surveyed. Henneberry, • Otto found that 152 farmers markets in Iowa Whitacre, and Agustini surveyed farmers market con- led to a gross increase of 576 jobs, a $59.4 million sumers, whereas Hughes et al. and Miles and Hood increase in output (with a multiplier of 1.55), surveyed farmers market vendors. Otto surveyed both and a $17.8 million increase in income. consumers and producers, nding that consumer sur- • Myles and Hood found that 26 farmers markets veys reported $38.4 million in 2009 farmers market in Mississippi led to a gross increase of 16 jobs, a sales while producers reported only $11.2 million. Otto $1.6 million increase in output (with a multiplier regarded the consumer survey data as more accurate of 1.7), and a $0.2 million increase in income. and thus used those data. Such a wide disparity between Unlike the other studies, Myles and Hood reported estimates demonstrates the challenges associated with only the direct and indirect economic impacts and collecting direct marketing data, the importance of did not include any induced e ects. us their well-designed surveys, and the caution that should be ndings are not listed in the summary table. taken in interpreting survey results. Given the researchers’ di ering assumptions and Another metric is to calculate the number of jobs cre- methodologies, the work of Henneberry, Whitacre, ated per farmers market. Henneberry, Whitacre, and and Agustini and of Otto may represent an upper Agustini report 5.4 jobs per farmers market, Otto 2010 bound on the economic impacts that farmers markets reported 3.8 jobs per market, and Hughes et al. report- could provide, whereas Hughes et al. constitutes a ed 3.5 gross jobs (2.4 net jobs) per market. All these lower bound. Despite these di erences, all the studies estimates included both full-time and part-time jobs. found that farmers markets have positive statewide eco- Because many jobs in agriculture are part-time, Hughes nomic impacts. e results are summarized in Table 2. et al. converted their job estimates to full-time equiva- Speci cally: lents, nding a gross increase of 69 full-time-equivalent • Hughes et al. found that 34 farmers markets in jobs and a net increase of 43 full-time-equivalent jobs. West Virginia led to a gross increase of 119 jobs (net increase of 82 jobs), a gross increase of LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS $2.4 million in output (net increase of $1.1 mil- CAN RESULT IN SECTOR SPECIFIC lion), and a gross increase in personal income ECONOMIC GROWTH of $0.7 million (net increase of $0.2 million). Other studies have examined what the sector-speci c • Henneberry, Whitacre, and Agustini found that economic impacts might be if the demand for locally
  • 25. MARKET FORCES 19produced food were to increase. ese impacts were Figure 8. U.S. Agricultural Acreage bylargely related to fruits and vegetables, as these food Product: Fruits and Vegetables Accountgroups are underconsumed relative to dietary recom- for a Small Fraction of Landmendations and are conducive to direct marketing, but 2%such research could have been undertaken for otherfood products as well. e studies showed that positiveeconomic impacts would result in fruit- and vegetable- 14% Animalproducing regions if consumption were to align with Oilseeddietary recommendations, and that the impacts would and grainbe even greater if the produce were sold through direct 55% Other crops 29%consumer marketing channels. Although the focus Fruits andof these studies was to examine local purchases of vegetablesfruits and vegetables, positive economic impacts wouldoccur as well if this demand increase came from non- Source: USDA 2009.local sources. Measuring the hypothetical economic impacts ofincreased fruit and vegetable consumption involves de- Other important determinations include yields ontermining whether these foods’ increased production fruits and vegetables that are not commercially grown;would displace commodity crop production or some the extent to which locally grown fruits and vegetablesother agricultural practice on existing farmland, or are already being consumed locally or regionally;whether increased production would occur on new seasonal growing patterns, storability, and seasonal uc-farmland. If the former were the case, job displacement tuations in demand; whether the products are sold viafrom the corn and soybean sectors would have to be direct marketing channels or through grocery stores;explicitly taken into consideration. In either scenario, how the products compete with nonlocal food in thehowever, any land-use impacts associated with increased market; the extent to which production and retailingfruit and vegetable production would likely be modest, infrastructure exist to support local food productionas only 21 million acres of land in U.S. farms is cur- and consumption; and the extent to which transpor-rently used for such production. As Figure 8 shows, tation costs can help identify the appropriate spatialfruits and vegetables account for only 2 percent of the scale. In addition, signi cant increases in fruit and vege-country’s farm acreage. table consumption could result from changes in relative © iStockphoto.com/Michael Krinke
  • 26. 20 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTSTable 3. Economic Impacts of Increased Fruit and Vegetable (F&V) Consumption Swenson (2010) Swenson (2010) Connor et al. (2008) Cantrell et al. (2006) Geographic Region Six Midwest states Large metropolitan Michigan Michigan independently areas within 150 miles of farms in six Midwest states Data USDA Census, Iowa USDA Census, Iowa USDA Census, NASS Michigan data Produce Market Produce Market NASS, Michigan State Calculator Calculator extension data Regional IMPLAN IMPLAN IMPLAN REMI Modeling System Land Use Existing crop Existing crop Existing crop No land change; production production production considered increasing fresh F&V sales vs. processed sales Local F&V Increase in seasonal Increase in seasonal 2.15-fold increase in Corresponding Consumption demand for 100 percent demand for 100 fruit; 1.79-fold increase demand increase for local produce percent local produce in vegetables fresh F&V production Seasonal Varied by product (25 Varied by product (25 Varied by product Not applicable Restrictions percent or 50 percent) percent or 50 percent) Marketing No direct marketing No direct Not stated Threefold fresh F&V Channels marketing direct-marketed; 1.5-fold to 2-fold fresh F&V wholesale Increase in Net 6,724 jobs Net 4,802 jobs Net 1,780 jobs Gross 1,889 jobs Employment Increase in Net $985 million Net $710 million Not reported Not reported Gross Output Increase in Net $336 million Net $242 million Net $211 million Gross $187 million Personal Income Output Multiplier 1.71 Not reported Not reported Not reported prices that the use of IMPLAN or some other standard scenario the net impacts were 6,724 jobs, I-O model would not capture. $985 million in output, and $336 million in in- Studies that have examined this issue, which are sum- come. Under the second scenario, there were net marized in Table 3, include: impacts of 4,802 jobs, $710 million in output, !" Swenson (2010) estimated the economic impacts and $242 million in income. Fruit and vegetable of increasing the seasonal production of fresh production resulted in a 6.7-fold increase in fruits and vegetables in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, labor income and a 3.6-fold increase in jobs for Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on existing an equivalent acreage of cropland in corn and corn and soybean cropland under two scenarios: soybean production. Swenson also conducted a statewide demands are satis ed by producers sensitivity analysis by assuming that 50 percent within that state, and a metropolitan regional of this increase was sold via direct marketing; market obtains produce from farms within a 150- under such a condition the increase in employ- mile radius.12 Swenson found that under the rst ment could be much greater. 12 e ndings quantify the total value that would arise if consumption were at these levels and do not attempt to net out any portion of local fruit and vegetable consumption that is already occurring.
  • 27. MARKET FORCES 21• Connor et al. (2008) estimated the economic impacts of Michigan residents consuming fruits and vegetables according to USDA guidelines, and whether the increase in the supply of fruits and vegetables would occur from Michigan pro- ducers when seasonally available. Assuming that the increase in production would occur on exist- ing commodity crop acreage, the authors deter- mined a net increase of 1,780 jobs within the state and a net increase of $211 million in income.• Cantrell et al. (2006) found that if Michigan farmers sold fresh fruits and vegetables in place of what they currently sell as processed, this would result in a gross increase of 1,889 jobs and $187 million in after-tax income. To obtain this result, the authors assumed that there would be a tripling of the amount of fresh fruits and vege- tables sold via direct marketing and a 1.5- to 2-fold increase in the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables sold in wholesale markets.• Jetter et al. (2004) found that pro ts to fruit and vegetable growers would be $460 million if California consumers were to increase their con- sumption of fruits and vegetables to ve servings per day, and would be $1.5 billion if consumption increased to seven servings per day. e authors’ © iStockphoto.com/Michael DeLeon results depended on a model linking the supply and demand at various stages in the food system. development projects. is occurs, for example, when e resulting estimates strictly quanti ed the consumers visit an outdoor farmers market—say, in a pro ts to producers but did not include any other central location of a city or town—and subsequently potential bene ts associated with increased fruit patronize neighboring shops that they would not have and vegetable consumption, such as improved otherwise considered. ese spillover e ects have not health outcomes. been quanti ed in most I-O modeling e orts. e Sticky Economy Evaluation Device (SEED)ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF FARM TO SCHOOL was created by marketumbrella.org as a survey techniquePROGRAMS for farmers market operators. It allows them not onlyTuck et al. (2010) found that if central Minnesota to obtain self-reported customer and sales informationschools sourced all available farm products locally, related to the farmers market itself but also to estimatethe gross output in the region would increase $323,000 customer spending at neighboring stores. For example,to $427,000 with modest employment implications SEED calculated that the gross economic impact of(two new jobs). e increase in output would be great- one market, the Crescent City Farmers Market in Newest if schools paid farmers current-market food prices Orleans, was $10 million in 2010.(the payo in direct and indirect economic e ects In a survey of towns in Oregon, Lev, Brewer, andwould outweigh the negative induced e ects of house- Stephenson (2003) found that farmers markets wereholds paying higher prices for school lunches). e the primary reason why patrons visited small towns ongross increase in output would be least if schools paid weekends (88 percent and 78 percent in two such towns),farmers the same prices that they currently pay for food and also why they visited larger cities on weekdaysat schools. (45 percent in Eugene and 24 percent in Portland). e authors found that the spending of farmers mar-FARMERS MARKETS CAN INCREASE SALES ket patrons at neighboring stores depended on theAT NEIGHBORING BUSINESSES proximity of those stores and on the degree of overlapFarmers markets often transcend their immediate pur- between their business hours and those of the farmerspose and e ectively become community economic market. Further research on this topic, especially in
  • 28. 22 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS estimating the net economic effect on any given solidation of our food system. Lusk and Norwood do neighborhood of installing a farmers market there, is acknowledge that local food can be superior with re- warranted. gard to freshness and quality. ese desirable attributes are important reasons why local- and regional-food- LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS system sales have increased in recent years. However, CAN INCREASE BUSINESS INNOVATION even controlling for all other attributes of food-product AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP quality, some consumers value the product’s source; As noted in a previous section, local food systems can di erentiating local food from nonlocal food can in- foster business innovation and entrepreneurship among uence their decision to buy. farmers (Martinez et al. 2010; Feenstra et al. 2003; Second, available evidence suggests that buying food Lyson, Gillespie, and Hilchey 1995). e economic at farmers markets is more a ordable than buying impacts of these enhanced entrepreneurship skills have food at supermarkets for many products during peak not yet been quanti ed. growing season. Claro (2011) found that grocery stores in Vermont had lower prices than farmers markets only RESPONSES TO ARGUMENTS AGAINST for six of the 14 conventional food products in his SUPPORTING LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM sample,13 and also that most organic food was less ex- DEVELOPMENT pensive at farmers markets than at grocery stores. Pirog Some critics claim that the notion that local food sys- and McCann (2009) found as well that many types of tems promote local economic development “violates locally produced food in Iowa could cost less than the core economic principles taught in every introduc- their nonlocal counterparts. Both studies were under- tory economics class” (Lusk and Norwood 2011). ese taken during the summer, when farmers markets tend authors are correct in arguing that national policy to to be open, and it is not clear how the costs of locally expand local and regional food markets should take produced food compare with those of nonlocal food national impacts into account; this would include in other seasons. evaluating costs to regions and sectors that might be Lusk and Norwood’s claim that spending locally disadvantaged under such an expansion. However, does not help the local economy is based on “long-run” contrary to the authors’ assertions, programs that assumptions. e authors presuppose that if the resi- invest in infrastructure and institutions for local food dents of a community are importing food from out- producers are intended to expand, not restrict, con- side the region, those individuals must have su cient sumer selection. income streams, from wages earned in some higher- Lusk and Norwood premise their arguments on an valued industry, to do this. Lusk and Norwood assume unattributed claim that “local food is generally more that the economy is at full employment, so that work- expensive than nonlocal food of the same quality.” ers can move without cost to nd employment between ere are two problems with this statement. First, the industries. Of course, these conditions frequently do authors implicitly assume that local food markets can not hold, and the “long run” can be a grossly inappro- only be supported through mandates or large subsi- priate lens for contemplating the welfare impacts of dies, when actually these markets have arisen with economic development projects, particularly since pro- modest government support. e authors also fail to viding economic development in rural America is such acknowledge, as have other critiques of local food sys- an important policy priority. us the claim that local tems (O’Rourke 2009), the distortionary role that the expenditures do not help the local economy does not U.S. government has played in subsidizing the con- hold up under scrutiny. 13 Nine of the 14 conventional food products had lower prices, although in three of these cases the di erences were not statistically signi cant.
  • 29. MARKET FORCES 23CHAPTER 4Local and Regional Food Systems CanHave Positive Social, Health, andEnvironmental Impacts © iStockphoto.com/James TutorLOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS CAN PROMOTE (Finkelstein et al. 2009). Many factors have contrib-HEALTHIER FOOD PRODUCT CHOICES uted to this problematic trend, but the solution, at leastPromoting Healthier Eating Habits Is in part, involves an increased consumption of morean Important Social Objective healthful foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.14Weight gain and obesity increases among U.S. adults External cues, such as those that result from mar-over the past several decades have led to signi cant keting, packaging, and display, can have a strong in u-diagnostic and treatment costs, decreased productivity, ence on how shoppers select their food (Just, Mancino,and premature deaths. Annual medical costs attribut- and Wansink 2007). Grocery stores and farmers mar-able to obesity are estimated at $147 billion annually kets are marked by altogether di erent strategies in this14 Further background on these issues is available online at www.ers.usda.gov/Brie ng/DietQuality/DietaryPatterns.htm, accessed July 5, 2011.
  • 30. 24 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS regard. For example, farmers market organizations are way to collect better information on whether and how unlike supermarkets in that they typically do not sell local-food markets alter consumers’ shopping behavior. their own “store brand” products. Consumers at farm- Meanwhile, methodologies for use by farmers market ers markets or CSAs can obtain rsthand information administrators, such as the Food Environment Evalu- about the food being o ered if they discuss with the ation Device (FEED) developed by marketumbrella. producer the practices employed and the associated org,16 can be a useful way to obtain anecdotal informa- environmental and health bene ts; the result can be tion on any linkages between the patronization of healthier food consumption choices. Other local-food farmers markets and the improvement of human health. initiatives, such as farm-to-school programs—which In a survey of farmers market customers in New assist school districts in developing networks to pur- Orleans, 83 percent reported that the market had chase healthful food from local farmers—can help to changed the way they shopped and 74 percent said it increase students’ awareness of food, improve their had introduced them to new foods. eating habits, and reduce childhood obesity. Some researchers have used targeted interventions People with higher incomes and education levels to see how consumers’ shopping habits change after tend to eat healthier. While a uent individuals may exposure to locally produced food. In one experiment, have su cient access to fresh fruits and vegetables, such food was o ered to employees at di erent work- many of those with low incomes do not. “Food deserts” sites periodically over a summer, with the result that a refer to the inability of people living in low-income neigh- signi cant number of them increased their local-food borhoods to obtain healthful and a ordable food—they purchases in the four weeks thereafter (Ross et al. 1999). lack ready access to a supermarket or discount retailer— e nonrandomized nature of such studies, however, even though they live in a well-populated geographic can limit the ability to draw general conclusions from area (Ver Ploeg et al. 2009). them (e.g., Seymour et al. 2004), so further research Local food markets can provide access to healthful on this topic is warranted. food in instances where supermarkets or discount re- Research into dietary habits of low-income people tailers do not. ere are numerous challenges to install- in particular has focused on the implications of target- ing a farmers market in a low-income neighborhood, ed subsidies for fresh and healthful food. For example, including those related to outreach, awareness, and low-income families that had previously participated accessibility, and residents often assume that prices at in a farmers market nutrition program were more like- farmers markets will be high. us practitioners tend ly to subsequently return to farmers markets to buy to believe that local food markets at such locations fruits and vegetables (Racine Vaughn, and Laditka will not generally be viable without nancial support 2010). In a di erent experiment, when subjects main- (e.g., Markowitz 2010; Grace et al. 2008; Fisher 1999). tained an increased consumption of fruits and vege- As a step in that direction, many large cities have tables for another six months after a six-month subsidy begun hiring food policy directors to promote the ac- had been removed, farmers market participants con- cessibility of fresh and healthful foods, particularly in sumed greater quantities of fruits and vegetables than low-income neighborhoods, to support and facilitate did supermarket patrons (Herman et al. 2008). e community-based gardens, and to assist regional farmers Wholesome Wave Foundation reports that redemption who sell their products at farmers markets, public rates for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program markets, or similar venues. (SNAP) bene ts, formerly known as “food stamps,” increased 300 percent subsequent to the implementa- Available Evidence Suggests Local Food Systems tion of matching bonus-incentive vouchers for SNAP Can Promote Healthier Eating Habits among redemption, and an increase in patronage was retained Low-Income People15 when the program was withdrawn (Schumacher et al. It stands to reason that because local food systems gen- 2009). More research into the e ectiveness of these erally feature healthful foods such as fruits and vege- bonus-incentive programs is ongoing. tables, shoppers exposed to these products may increase A recent review suggests that, although other studies their consumption of them. Focused e orts are under have reported positive ndings, additional research on 15 It is also possible that product freshness arising from local production could result in greater nutrient content in the food. We do not explore this connection here, as con rming research has not yet been done (Martinez et al. 2010). 16 Online at farmersmarketcoalition.org/feed-and-other-evaluation-tools-can-give-markets-insight-into-operations-and-impacts, accessed June 20, 2011.
  • 31. MARKET FORCES 25this topic is needed to ensure that the results are gen-eralizable (McCormack et al. 2010). Speci cally, thereviewers identi ed no studies that examined whetheraccess to farmers markets changed shopping habits inthe absence of coupons or vouchers. us the researchwas more relevant for low-income people who receivesuch vouchers. e Herman et al. study justi es ensur-ing that existing programs that provide assistance tolow-income people, such as SNAP or the Women,Infants, and Children program (WIC), be structuredto allow low-income people to redeem their bene tsat local-food markets, as will be discussed in the fol-lowing section. However, high- and middle-incomeindividuals do not receive such vouchers, so it is lessclear how local-food-market accessibility alters theireating habits. An important research initiative under way inHampden County, Massachusetts, is the Healthy In-centives Pilot (HIP). HIP’s objective is to test how apoint-of-sale nancial incentive (equal to 30 percentof SNAP expenditures) on eligible fruits and vegetableswill in uence the food shopping expenditures of low-income individuals. e study will randomly assign © iStockphoto.com/Larry LawheadSNAP bene ciaries in the region to experimental andcontrol groups, and all SNAP-authorized retail outletsin the county will be eligible to participate. Becausefarmers markets are included among these eligible re-tail outlets, it will be important to determine whetherconsumer behavior is systematically di erent at thosemarkets. HIP is scheduled to be completed in 2013. processed food to relatively unprocessed food (e.g.,LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS CAN REDUCE Garnett 2011; Weber and Matthews 2008). For ex-THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT ample, 2002 U.S. per-capita energy ows for snacks,OF OUR OVERALL FOOD SYSTEM baking, sugar, and fats were almost three times thoseThe Current U.S. Food System Has a of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables acrossSigni cant Environmental Footprint all stages of the food production system (Canning et e consolidated food system results in considerable al. 2010).environmental damage, and many of the sources ofthese adverse impacts are inadequately regulated. Local Food Systems Have the Potential toMajor environmental problems caused by agriculture Facilitate a More Environmentally Sustainableproduction include emissions of heat-trapping gases, Food Systemammonia, particulates, and odors; impairment of lakes Existing research has not conclusively established at aand rivers from sediment and nutrient runo ; extensive general level whether local food systems o er net en-use of surface water and groundwater; and adverse im- vironmental bene ts (Martinez et al. 2010). ere arepacts on soil quality, wildlife, grasslands, and wetlands. multiple pollutants to consider, although most research Heat-trapping emissions also arise from the extensive to date has focused on energy use. Distance from farmenergy requirements of food processing, transportation, to market is not the most important metric of food-storage, and preparation. In 2007, food-related energy system energy use, as it accounts for only a modestuse accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. energy budget component of the system’s energy budget (e.g., Weber(Canning et al. 2010). Some of the greatest opportu- and Matthews 2008). While signi cant energy savingsnities in the food system for mitigating heat-trapping can arise from producing food locally, ndings fromemissions are in the signi cant energy savings that existing studies—which compared food-system energywould result if consumption were largely shifted from use in a particular market for identical food products
  • 32. 26 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS from two di erent distances—were customized to the social capital (e.g., Putnam 2000). Speci cally, the particular situation and therefore not generalizable. shopping experiences at direct marketing venues such However, as discussed earlier, shoppers may con- as farmers markets provide more opportunity for in- sume di erent food products as a result of shopping at teraction between vendors and consumers. Some 40 farmers markets than they otherwise would. us there percent to 45 percent of member associations of the can be signi cant energy savings from local food sys- Farmers Market Coalition are registered as 501(c)(3) tems if consumers shift their consumption to food that nonpro t organizations (Briggs et al. 2010), and many is unprocessed or less processed—that is, to the food others provide the services of a 501(c)(3) but may not products o ered through local-food markets. Research have obtained such registration from the Internal Rev- that examines how shopping behavior is altered is there- enue Service. In order to become a 501(c)(3), an insti- fore essential for determining both health and environ- tution must show evidence of o ering public bene ts— mental impacts. Additionally, the positive ndings e.g., educational or charitable—where “charitable” can identi ed in the previous section are applicable for include providing relief for the poor, lessening the identifying environmental bene ts as well. burdens of government, or preventing community Local food systems are also an important market deterioration.18 Examples of the public bene ts that outlet for food that is produced in an environmentally farmers markets in particular can provide include sustainable fashion (e.g., organic). As discussed earlier, bonus-incentive or gleaning programs, the hosting of many farmers market vendors—and direct marketing health sessions and dissemination of informational vendors in general—engage in environmentally sus- materials, and establishment of an organized central tainable production practices, and other producers have location that facilitates community engagement. suggested they would be willing to use more environ- Sommer, Herrick, and Sommer (1981) found that mentally sustainable practices if consumers demanded 75 percent of shoppers at farmers markets arrived in them (Hunt 2007). groups while 84 percent of supermarket customers Local food systems also have land-use implications. came alone. e authors also found that whereas only ey provide market access for farmers, particularly 9 percent of customers in chain supermarkets had a young and beginning farmers, which helps ensure that social interaction with another customer and 14 per- land remains in agricultural production. is preserves cent had a social interaction with an employee, the the bene cial attributes of farmland, particularly if respective percentages for farmers markets were 63 per- the land would otherwise be developed; if operated cent and 42 percent. Hunt (2007) found that the social in accordance with best management practices, farm- interactions associated with farmers markets, such as land provides many important environmental bene- interacting with vendors, going with other family mem- ts, including wildlife habitat, wetlands protection, bers, and enjoying the shopping experience, were crit- water ltration and recharge, and sequestration of heat- ical factors in consumers’ willingness to patronize these trapping gases. venues. Farmers market managers in the mid-Atlantic It could also be the case that less food is wasted or have enumerated important bene ts that their markets discarded in direct marketing systems. First, a greater provide, such as creating a hub of social activity in a proportion of vendors’ products may be consumed by public space, fostering a sense of community, and in- shoppers in local-food markets than by being sold creasing customer awareness of food and its origins through a wholesaler. In addition, unsold produce at (Oberholtzer and Grow 2003). farmers markets is often converted into value-added Research has not yet quanti ed the value of this products or composted, and many farmers markets greater social connectedness resulting from local and have implemented gleaning programs with local food regional food systems, though nonmarket valuation banks.17 ese observations are anecdotal, however; techniques could be used to address the issue. For ex- more research on food waste is needed. ample, investigators could examine whether real-estate property values in municipalities with farmers markets LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS CAN PROMOTE were greater than those without them, or a contingent- COMMUNITY INTERACTION valuation study could reveal how much people would Revitalizing social connectedness and civic engagement be willing to pay to help install a farmers market in a is a community development priority because it creates public location. 17 Online at farmersmarketcoalition.org/joinus/faq, accessed July 5, 2011. 18 Online at farmersmarketcoalition.org/501c3, accessed July 5, 2011.
  • 33. MARKET FORCES 27CHAPTER 5Investing in Local and Regional FoodSystems and Creating JobsINITIAL FUNDING CAN HELP FARMERS market is capable of covering its operating costs. AMARKETS SUCCEED farmers market does not have the access to capitalAs discussed earlier, the recent rapid growth in the that a publicly traded grocery store or a discount retailnumber of farmers markets obscures the challenges chain enjoys, and their companies often receive taxassociated with establishing one. It can be di cult to credits or subsidies when installing a retail outlet or nance and implement a new farmers market accord- distribution center.19ing to a standard business model because many of them A critical factor for a new farmers market is initialare community-based and -initiated, rely on volunteer funding, which allows the organization to increase itslabor, and are nonpro t institutions. It takes months, probability of success by undertaking marketing andif not years, to set up a farmers market, and once it related activities that enable it to earn greater revenue.is in place several more years may elapse before the is revenue enables the farmers market to make its © Lisa Helfert Photography19 For example, see www.walmartsubsidywatch.org, accessed July 5, 2011.
  • 34. 28 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS own additional investments as required, and the pro- existing programs either present access challenges to cess becomes self-sustaining and growth-inducing. Ini- low-income people or are funded at low levels. If these tial funding sources for farmers markets have included individuals are to patronize local-food markets in sub- nonpro t organizations, foundations, municipal and stantial numbers, far greater access must be provided state governments, farmers market associations, and to them. In addition, given the numerous administra- trade or business associations. Markets that are already tive challenges associated with these programs (e.g., well established tend to depend exclusively on vendor Briggs et al. 2010; Tessman and Fisher 2009), there fees (Ragland and Tropp 2009). is an important need to standardize them so as to facilitate bene ts redemption. PROGRAMS THAT SUPPORT LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS Farmers market nutrition programs Initiatives that support local food systems include e Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market nutrition-based programs for low-income people, pro- Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) and Senior Farmers grams that assist farmers markets and other local-food Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) are federal pro- institutions, and programs that farmers can use to grams administered by state governments that provide supply local food. coupons to economically disadvantaged groups so that they can purchase unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and Nutrition-Based Programs for Low-Income herbs at farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA pro- People Can Help Support Local Food Systems grams, or other direct marketing channels. Twenty In this subsection, we brie y highlight federal programs million dollars were appropriated for WIC FMNP in that facilitate low-income people’s patronage of farm- 2010, with individual bene ts capped at $30 per re- ers markets. In particular, we discuss two nutrition cipient annually. SFMNP is funded at $20.6 million programs that are exclusively designed to promote local- per year, and in 2009 more than 809,000 recipients food consumption, two larger nutrition programs that received SFMNP coupons for an average of $23 per can o er bene ts for redemption at local-food institu- recipient annually (after deducting for administrative tions, and bonus-incentive programs designed to stim- costs). ese gures are much too low, as noted above. ulate more spending at farmers markets. All these Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program e Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) historically issued paper-based stamps or coupons. In the late 1990s, state governments went exclusively elec- tronic, installing an electronic bene t transfer (EBT) system in which bene ts are authorized on plastic deb- it cards. us in order for vendors at any given farmers market to accept SNAP, the facility needed an EBT machine. Not surprisingly, the redemption of SNAP bene ts at farmers markets plummeted after this change to the EBT system took place. Some progress has since been made to increase the use of SNAP bene ts at farmers markets. In 2010, SNAP redemptions amounted to $7.5 million (an in- crease of 74 percent from 2009) as a total of 1,611 farmers markets accepted SNAP (up from 936 farmers markets in 2009) (USDA 2011c). Although this growth © Lisa Helfert Photography was critical, it only amounted to 0.012 percent of the SNAP bene ts that were redeemed in 2010, and 74 percent of farmers markets still do not accept SNAP. us enhancing low-income individuals’ ability to redeem SNAP coupons at farmers markets remains an urgent priority. Some Farmers Market Promotion Ensuring food nutrition subsidies, such as SNAP and WIC, can be redeemed at local-food markets not only Program funds (this program is discussed below) are helps low-income consumers buy more fresh fruits and being used to support the installation of EBT machines vegetables but also helps local food systems expand. in farmers markets, and the USDA has separately
  • 35. MARKET FORCES 29requested an additional $4 million from Congress forthe same purpose.WIC cash value vouchers e Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women,Infants, and Children (WIC) facilitates access to nutri-tious foods and provides related education to low-incomefamilies at nutritional risk. As part of this program, theUSDA’s Food and Nutrition Service issues electroniccash value vouchers (CVVs), which are $8 per monthfor women and $6 per month for children, so that re-cipients can purchase fruits and vegetables. e USDAhas allowed farmers markets to be considered eligible,though this determination is made on a state-by-statebasis. At approximately $500 million per year, WICCVV is much larger than WIC FMNP, so even if asmall percentage of CVVs were redeemed at farmersmarkets this could be a signi cant stimulus to localfood systems. Much more progress needs to occur at thestate level to provide low-income people with thisoption. As of late 2009, only 21 states allowed farmersto be vendors within this program (Briggs et al. 2010;Tessman and Fisher 2009).Bonus-incentive programsInnovative bonus-incentive programs have been imple-mented that provide SNAP recipients with matching © Lisa Helfert Photographyfunds when they patronize farmers markets (e.g.,Winch 2008). In so doing, they double the amountthat their SNAP bene ts entitle them to spend. eobjective of these programs, funded largely by localgovernments, foundations, and advocacy organizations,is to nancially assist low-income people to shop atfarmers markets. Given such positive impacts, as wepreviously discussed, these programs should be insti- among young producers. FMPP is oversubscribed: intutionalized and funded by the federal government 2010 the USDA received 509 FMPP applications re-(e.g., Pollan 2008). questing $36.9 million, and it awarded only 77 grants for a total of $4.1 million.2 Also, the FMPP is scheduledPrograms that Support Market Institutions to expire at the end of 2012 unless it is reauthorized.for Local and Regional FoodFarmers Market Promotion Program Community Food Projects grantsThe USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program e USDA’s Community Food Projects Competitive(FMPP) provides nonconstruction grants to improve Grant Program (CFPCGP) is another source of fund-and expand not only farmers markets but also roadside ing for local-food venues. While the program’s mainstands, CSA programs, and other producer-to-consumer objective is to increase food security in low-incomemarketing venues. e FMPP awarded 291 grants for communities, funding for food hubs and other local-$14.5 million from 2006 through 2010, and it has allo- food institutions has been administered by the Healthycated $10 million per year for 2011 and 2012. e Urban Food Enterprise Development Center, whoseFMPP requires that a minimum of 10 percent of each objective is “to support greater access to healthy a ord-grant be used for EBT installation projects. Most grants able food in communities across the country.”have been awarded to nonpro ts and local governmentsfor the purpose of assisting economically disadvantaged 20 Online at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/get le?dDocName=communities and promoting professional development STELPRDC5089103, accessed July 6, 2011.
  • 36. 30 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS Generally, these rural development programs are mod- estly funded, and many of them have multiple objec- tives besides promoting local and regional food systems. In addition to the USDA, other federal government agencies also have programs that can foster local and regional food systems. ey include the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the U.S. Department of Treasury, the O ce of Community Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and programs administered by the U.S. De- partment of Housing and Urban Development and the Small Business Administration. © iStockphoto.com/John MacKenzie DETERMINING THE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF SUPPORTING FARMERS MARKETS A critical policy question is: How many jobs would be created if local food systems were publicly supported? Determining the answer is not straightforward. Al- though the existing evidence from the aforementioned federal local and regional food programs is positive— indeed, potentially transformative25—the USDA does Farm-to-School programs not conduct formal evaluations of their e ectiveness. e USDA’s Farm-to-School programs are designed Estimating the future employment implications of to stimulate the demand for locally produced food as reauthorizing these programs for farmers markets, for well. e recent Child Nutrition Reauthorization man- example, ideally requires knowing the number of dated $40 million in funding over eight years to help farmers markets that would be successful with nancial schools and nonprofit organizations invest in in- support but would otherwise not be. FMPP awardees frastructure and logistics so that they can purchase in 2010 received an average of $53,247 per farmers healthful food from local farmers. e USDA also market. We assume that this amount is su cient to make modi ed its procurement procedures to allow schools either a new or existing farmers market viable, as it is to demonstrate preference for local farmers, which pre- more than 25 times greater than the median annual viously was not allowed. farmers market’s operating expense. Such a grant would assist an organization in hiring a paid market manager, Rural Development Programs installing an EBT machine, and undertaking advertis- ese programs, designed to foster the development ing and marketing e orts. of infrastructure, institutions, and capacity to support We present below our estimates of the employment local and regional food systems, are outlined in Fitzger- that could result from reauthorizing the FMPP. e two ald, Evans, and Daniel (2010), Martinez et al. (2010), critical parameters (for which we provide ranges) are: Becker (2006), and websites administered by the Farmers Market Coalition,21 the USDA’s Food and Nutrition • The number of jobs that are created per farmers Service,22 the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service,23 market. We earlier demonstrated that 5.4 was an and the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.24 upper-bound estimate of the number of jobs created 21 Online at www.farmersmarketcoalition.org/resources/home/items/11-funding-and-grants, accessed July 6, 2011. 22 Online at www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm-scrip-Grant_Resources.htm, accessed July 6, 2011. 23 Online at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/get le?dDocName=STELDEV3100937&acct=frmrdirmkt, accessed July 6, 2011. 24 Online at www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/knowyourfarmer?navtype=KYF&navid=KYF_GRANTS, accessed July 6, 2011. 25 For example, see the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s webpages for the Value-Added Producer Grants Program, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, and the Community Food Project Grants Program, respectively, at: sustainableagriculture.net/ publications/grassrootsguide/local-food-systems-rural-development/value-added-producer-grants/, accessed July 6, 2011; sustainableagriculture. net/publications/grassrootsguide/local-food-systems-rural-development/rural-micro-entrepeneur-assistance/, accessed July 6, 2011; and sustainable agriculture.net/publications/grassrootsguide/local-food-systems-rural-development/community-food-project-grants/, accessed July 6, 2011.
  • 37. MARKET FORCES 31Table 4. Potential Employment Impacts of Reauthorizing the Federal Farmers MarketPromotion Program Case 1: Higher Case 2: Lower Job Case 3: Higher Case 4: Lower Job Job Growth, More Growth, More Job Growth, Growth, Fewer Markets Markets Fewer Markets Markets Jobs per Farmers Market 5.4 2.4 5.4 2.4 # of Farmers Markets 500 500 100 100 Number of Years 5 5 5 5 Total Jobs Created 13,500 6,000 2,700 1,200 per farmers market, while 2.4 was a more conser- 1,200 to 13,500 jobs created through the reauthoriza- vative estimate. We use them here, as they are the tion of the FMPP. Case 1 is the most optimistic of the only two such estimates published in peer-reviewed four scenarios, as it uses the higher estimates of jobs journals. Caution must be taken, however, when per market and number of markets that could be sup- extrapolating regional employment estimates to cal- ported. Case 4, which uses the two lower estimates, is culate national impacts, as there is no evidence that the most conservative estimate. the job implications of farmers markets in, say, Okla- Supporting the development of local-food-market homa or West Virginia are representative of the job institutions is not the only way in which local and growth that could be expected in other regions. regional food-system jobs can be created. We also More research on the economic impacts of local previously showed that increasing local demand for food systems in those other regions would make certain products could result in significant job such calculations more reliable. Two additional rea- growth, and that this increase in sales would not nec- sons for using a range of parameters are that, as essarily need to occur through direct marketing chan- previously mentioned, the underlying studies used nels. For example, research has demonstrated that different survey methodologies and they made increases in local demand for fruits and vegetables di erent assumptions about sales that would have in the Midwest, if supplied locally, could result in a occurred in the absence of a market. net increase of thousands of jobs, both through conventional marketing and direct marketing chan-• The number of new or existing markets that nels, in that region. us supporting local food could be supported and that would not be suc- systems through the various programs outlined in cessful without such support. For an upper- this chapter—including the rural development pro- bound estimate, we assume that 500 markets could grams that could be used to invest in infrastruc- be funded annually, as this corresponds to the ture and institutions that help make the needed number of FMPP applicants in 2010. For a more con- increase in production feasible—could potentially servative estimate we assume 100, as it approximate- lead to the creation nationwide of tens of thousands ly corresponds to the number of FMPP awardees of jobs both through direct and nondirect market- in 2010. ing channels.Over a ve-year period, which is typically a farm bill’slength of authorization, Table 4 shows an increase of
  • 38. 32 UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS CHAPTER 6 Conclusions and Policy Recommendations © iStockphoto/Thinkstock Local and regional food systems are here to stay. With Local and regional food systems can especially increase more than 7,000 farmers markets, 4,000 CSAs, 100 employment, income, and output in rural areas, help food hubs, and a growing interest in reestablishing address “food desert” challenges in cities’ lower-income appropriate infrastructure, local and regional food sys- neighborhoods, foster civic engagement, and enhance tems have expanded and are now an entrenched part urban-rural connections. More research is needed on of our overall food system. local and regional food systems’ environmental and Local and regional food systems can provide posi- health impacts, but if they cause a food consumption tive economic, social, health, and environmental im- shift to more fruits and vegetables, these impacts may pacts. According to our estimates, reauthorizing the be positive and signi cant. USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Barriers exist, however, that can hamper the devel- alone has the potential to provide between 1,200 and opment of local and regional food systems. First, 13,500 jobs, and supporting other local-food-system geographic limitations can restrict the consumption or programs has the potential to create thousands more. production of local food. Second, the decentralized and
  • 39. MARKET FORCES 33uncoordinated nature of local-food markets some- potential regional supply (based, for example, on soiltimes presents logistical, awareness, and accessibility characteristics, land availability, and climate conditions)challenges to consumers. ird, existing institutions, with the potential demand (based on population, con-infrastructure, or regulations that are geared to the con- sumer preferences, and income). is line of researchsolidated food system can hamper local-food sales. And could also illuminate the land-use implications of locallastly, existing safety nets developed to protect farmers food systems geared to increased production of fruits,from adverse nancial situations are inadequate for vegetables, or other food products.farmers who sell their products in local-food markets. Our recommendations, o ered below, aim to over- Congress and the USDA should restructurecome these and other barriers and to support and the safety net and ensure credit accessibilitypromote local and regional food systems. for local-food-system farmers. Many attributes of existing agricultural programs areCongress and the USDA, in coordination with not well suited to supporting farms and other pro-other relevant agencies, should maintain or ducers that market their food within localized foodincrease the funding for programs that support systems. For example, insurance focused on singlelocal and regional food systems. crops, as is typical, is not convenient for farmers grow- ese programs are of three types: (1) rural development ing a succession of vegetables throughout the growingprograms that provide funds for investing in infrastruc- season. us the development of whole-farm revenueture to support local and regional food systems; (2) insurance, as an alternative to crop insurance for spec-programs that o er assistance to farmers market man- i ed commodities, would be bene cial. In addition,agers, schools, and other local-food-system administrators; ensuring that farmers selling through local food sys-and (3) nutrition programs that provide nancial assis- tems have access to affordable credit, either fromtance to low-income consumers who wish to purchase Farm Credit System banks or from state nancinghealthful food at local-food markets. authorities, could allow these farmers to develop and Moreover, among the multiple federal agencies that expand their businesses. Lastly, cost-share programsadminister the various programs that support and that provide assistance to organic farmers in obtainingpromote local food systems, continued and improved certi cation could also help them sell food products incoordination is critically important. By organizing pro- local and regional markets.grams within one title in the federal farm bill, Congresscould e ectively bring together these seemingly dis- Local governments and community organizationsparate programs while also raising the pro le of local should foster local capacity to help implementand regional food systems. local and regional food-system plans. e establishment of local and regional food systemsThe USDA, together with academic and other requires a good deal of local e ort and coordination.policy institutes, should raise the level of research When funding is available, there must be evidence thaton the impacts of local and regional food systems, local capacity is su cient to absorb it and that localparticularly regarding their expansion. food initiatives have reasonable prospects for success.Funding more research for local and regional food sys- In addition, assistance should be provided to prospec-tems is essential for e ective future agricultural policy, tive applicants for developing business plans, conduct-and obtaining more precise data on marketing chan- ing outreach, and seeking funding opportunities.nels for local and regional food sales is especially im-portant. Other research priorities include the study Farmers market administrators shouldof how the installation of farmers markets and other support the realization of farmers marketlocal-food outlets in uences consumers’ shopping hab- certi cation standards.its relative to their behavior in the absence of such mar- e development of certi cation standards by farmerskets, and the e ects on low-income people of nutrition market administrators and directors could help ensureprograms that encourage patronage of farmers markets. the integrity of direct-to-consumer marketing systems. In addition, research on the feasibility of establish- Standards provide con dence to consumers that ven-ing local and regional food systems on a greater scale dors are involved in the production of the food theyin speci ed areas would help identify where some of sell and are undertaking environmentally sustainablethe most signi cant economic impacts could be real- production practices.ized. Such research would feature comparisons of the
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  • 43. (left) © iStockphoto.com; (center top) © Michelle Stapleton Photography; (center bottom) © iStockphoto.com/Willie B. Thomas; (right) © iStockphoto.com/Sean Locke Market Forces CREATING JOBS THROUGH PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN LOCAL AND REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS L ocal and regional food systems in the United States are booming: farmers markets have increased from just 340 in 1970 to more than 7,000 today, farmers have teamed up with nearby consumers in more than 4,000 community-supported agriculture (CSA) arrangements, and sales of agricultural products through direct marketing channels reached $1.2 billion in 2007. These systems, with their social, environmental, and public health benefits, have arisen as a result of consumers’ increased concern about where their food comes from and how it is grown, and have often relied on volunteer labor with little or no funding. In this report, the Union of Concerned Scientists examines the economic potential of public policies that direct more support toward local food systems. We conclude that further growth in this innovative, entrepreneurial sector has the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs. For example, modest public funding for 100 to 500 otherwise-unsuccessful farmers markets a year could create as many as 13,500 jobs over a five-year period. The federal farm bill and other policy mechanisms offer substantial opportunities to strengthen and expand local food systems. It’s an investment we can’t afford not to make. The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonpro t working for a healthy environment and a safer world. This report is available online (in PDF format) at www.ucsusa.org/marketforces.Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions National Headquarters Washington, DC, Office West Coast Office Midwest Office Printed on recycled paper Two Brattle Square 1825 K St. NW, Suite 800 2397 Shattuck Ave., Suite 203 One N. LaSalle St., Suite 1904 using vegetable-based inks Cambridge, MA 02138-3780 Washington, DC 20006-1232 Berkeley, CA 94704-1567 Chicago, IL 60602-4064 © August 2011 Phone: (617) 547-5552 Phone: (202) 223-6133 Phone: (510) 843-1872 Phone: (312) 578-1750 Union of Concerned Scientists Fax: (617) 864-9405 Fax: (202) 223-6162 Fax: (510) 843-3785 Fax: (312) 578-1751

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