Connecting communities to local farms and fresh produce
Connecting communities to local farms and fresh produce
When you buy a dollar’s worth of tomatoes at the supermarket, the farmer who grew them gets only about 20 cents of that, as a rule of thumb. This is pretty much the same with any other type of produce a farmer sells. If farmers could sell direct to consumers they could flip those proportions on their head, making 80% of the sale value. That would in turn make small-scale farming more sustainable and so support rural communities. The consumer would benefit as well by eating fresher, local and sustainable food.
People struggle to access fresh food (fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.) because they live in food deserts. This lack of fresh options means they buy from big stores where food has been frozen and traveled far distances, losing much of its nutritional value.
Food deserts can be described as geographic areas where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent due to the absence of grocery stores within convenient traveling distance. For instance, according to a report prepared for Congress by the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, about 2.3 million people (or 2.2 percent of all US households) live more than one mile away from a supermarket and do not own a car. In urban areas, access to public transportation may help residents overcome the difficulties posed by distance, but economic forces have driven grocery stores out of many cities in recent years, making them so few and far between that an individual’s food shopping trip may require taking several buses or trains. In suburban and rural areas, public transportation is either very limited or unavailable, with supermarkets often many miles away from people’s homes (FEP).
Negative Health Effects:
Foods produced by large-scale agricultural operations are often mass sprayed with pesticides.
Food that requires long trips to be transported across the country until they reach their final destination has many preservatives and other chemicals added to it in order to keep it fresh during transit.
Processed and packaged foods don’t provide a balanced diet.
With imported food, it can pass through several different hands before it reaches your kitchen, increasing the chance of contamination (Arrowquip).
Negative Environmental Effects:
Without small scale farms, the land might otherwise be developed for industrial or commercial use.
When we compare local farm grown food to imported food, the differences can be numerous. Imported food is shipped sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles to arrive at the supermarket.“Food miles” is a term used to describe the distance that food has traveled — from the place it was produced to the place where it will be sold to the consumer. The more food miles accumulated during food transportation, the more fossil fuels that are consumed. This transportation causes greater carbon emissions.
Many types of farmed produce use modern commercial technologies from certain genetic strands. Large scale farming dependent on such commercial growing limits biodiversity in grown produce and raised livestock (Arrowquip).
Negative Economic Effects:
When communities are only able to shop at large superstores, it limits how much money can be spent and cycled back in to their local economic systems.
Its a domino effect concerning other local jobs and businesses. Having locally sourced produce and goods means they can distribute to local restaurants, schools, and community events. But without that local source, companies must outsource jobs and materials (Arrowquip).
Positive Economic Effects:
Because local farmers don’t have the same transportation and distribution costs as large agricultural businesses, they can retain more of the profits from their sales. This helps small farming businesses become more successful as more people purchase from them.
Local farm operations can typically contribute more to the economy in tax revenue than they will ever use in services. Most local farm businesses aren’t dependent on social services like schools and emergency services (Arrowquip).
Eliminating Food Deserts so that all communities have access to locally produced food.
Encouraging partnerships between local farmers and other businesses to encourage stocking and serving locally sourced goods.
Educating the general public on the importance of a diverse, locally sourced, seasonal diet could help make communities more vocal about their desire for options outside of the superstores they currently shop at.
Small Business Owners
Local Butchers and Restauranteurs
Urban food growers
Creating and Promoting Apps that Connect Farmers with Local Buyers
Farmigo, an online food marketplace that connects people and communities to local farmers to buy fresh produce, is aiming to do this at scale. Each farmer has a dedicated online farmers market, and local people and groups including schools and workplaces are connected to their nearest farm. Farmigo is currently operating its online farmers market model across California and New York.
Maximize Value by Efficiently Collecting and Distributing Products from Farm-to-Market
Agromovil is a mobile, cloud-based platform connecting producers, transporters, and markets to unlock the tremendous trapped value in the current inefficient farm - to - market system.
Educate the General Public on the Benefits of Locally Grown Food
There are many benefits to buying locally grown food, and each person makes their choice for different reasons. Locally grown food creates important economic opportunities, provides health benefits and helps to reduce environmental impact. It also helps bring the community together and gives people the opportunity to make a difference.
Connecting the Surplus Harvest of Home Gardeners and Small Farms to Food Pantries
AmpleHarvest.org permanently ends hunger and the waste of locally grown fresh food. Working in 4,200 communities in all 50 states, it uses public awareness and technology to enable America's 62 million home/community gardeners to donate their surplus harvest to one of nearly 9,000 food pantries for the rest of their gardening life. This provides freshly harvested food to hungry families nearby.
A nationwide search functionality enables AmpleHarvest.org users to connect with local food pantries, ending food waste and hunger, reducing malnutrition, and helping the environment. This platform creates a sustained solution to end hunger and food waste, operating as a community program on a national scale.
Choosing to purchase locally grown food is an important way to support your local economy, contribute to your community, improve your health, and do your part to protect the environment. Getting involved in the local food system helps us to gain back the separation we created between humans and food production.
Many of us today, including children, don’t have the same awareness about food that we did before modern agriculture practices. Because of this, people are looking to repair their detachment from food production and actively learn more about their local food economy. If you make small weekly purchases from local food producers, your money and support can go a long way toward strengthening your local food system.
Food Empowerment Project- https://foodispower.org/access-health/food-deserts/
Top Benefits of Buying Locally Grown Food- https://arrowquip.com/blog/animal-science/top-benefits-buying-locally-grown-food