The local production of food encompasses more than just growing fruits and vegetables or raising livestock. Serving local markets create a sense of place because it reflects the market life and social life of a community. Local food production doesn’t just mirror or fit into a community. Local food production also revitalizes market and social connections. Producing food for local and regional markets is important because it cultivates local food markets and community connections between consumers and producers.
Local food markets work to match producers, who want to sell a product, with consumers, who want to buy a product. This type of interaction is what propels the economy. When it comes to producing local and regional food, the cultivation of local food markets provides opportunities for direct and indirect sales to consumers. Some examples of these markets are community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, and farm-to-table restaurants. By enabling a connection between local producers and local consumers, more money is kept circulating in the local economy. For example, when a dollar is spent on food purchased from a farmer, that farmer will use some of the dollar to purchase screws from the hardware store. Then, the hardware store will use some of that to purchase paper from their local supplier, and so on, and so on.
These interactions in the local economy among local food producers and local food consumers create opportunities for starting new businesses, developing new resources, and leveraging other programs. By using local food as a fulcrum, new businesses have gotten a start thanks to USDA’s New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher programs, Indiana Small Business Development Center’s resources, and USDA Rural Development programs.
Sales can be divided into different subsections: direct sales, intermediated sales, wholesale market channels and, online market channels. To learn more about each of the sections and to learn more about local selling, click the link below.
Processing simply refers to altering raw product into a form ready for consumers. The three main categories are: minimally processing food, processed food ingredients, and highly processed foods. Click the link below to learn more.