With interest growing in local food systems as a community development tool, scholars and practitioners are looking for methods to count progress toward benchmarks. A new article, Counting Local Food Consumption: Longitudinal Data and Lessons from Vermont, released by the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) reports on efforts to count local food consumption as part of Vermont’s statewide strategic plan for food systems development. Authors of the article include David Conner, Community Development and Applied Economics associate professor at the University of Vermont; Florence Becot of the Ohio State University; Ellen Kahler, executive director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF); Jake Claro Farm to Plate director at VSJF; and Annie Harlow, executive committee at Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN). The article provides longitudinal data from three waves of counting (2011, 2014, and 2017), and finds increases over time due to both increased food consumption and improved counting methods. The paper reflects on successes and challenges over the study period, focusing on data availability, key assumptions, and limitations. It concludes with future directions of inquiry into measuring food relocalization efforts. Photo courtesy of Pete's Greens.
Resources for understanding Vermont and regional food distribution systems, as well as understanding wholesale market opportunities and barriers (e.g., for sales to institutions,schools, colleges, and hospitals, as well as retail grocers).
This Excel workbook is a financial tool created to aid decision making around the various distribution options. The Agency of Agriculture and our partners would be happy to work with you to use this tool to figure out what distribution model is the best fit. This tool assumes the averages for various inputs associated with owning your own distribution truck, such as the cost of gas, insurance, and maintenance, and compares these to the assumed costs associated with paying for distribution services. For assistance with this decision or guidance on how to use this tool, please contact Rose Wilson or Jake Claro.
The report examines local food trends, provides tools and insights into how wholesale operates for producers and gives the broader food system community a greater understanding of how trends are impacting, supporting, and altering the viability, sustainability, and make-up of our local food system.