Local food production strengthens local economies by protecting small farms, local jobs, and local shops, thus increasing food security.
One example of an effort in this direction is community-supported agriculture (CSA), where consumers purchase advance shares in a local farmer's annual production, in return for equal shares of the harvest. In effect, CSA members become financiers of and participants in local farming, by providing up-front cash, and sharing in the risks and rewards of seasonal growing conditions. Some CSA set-ups require members to contribute a certain amount of labor, in a form of cooperative venture.
The popular resurgence of farmers' markets in many parts of the world, including Europe and North America, contributes to local economies. Farmers' markets are traditional in many societies, bringing together local food and craft producers for the convenience of local consumers. Today, some urban farmers' markets are large-scale enterprises, attracting tens of thousands on a market day, and vendors are not always "local". However, the majority of markets are still built around actual local farmers.
There should be more on local food and bartering systems.
Particularly in the "developed nations", the move away from local food to agribusiness over the last 100 years has had a profound socioeconomic impact, by redistributing populations into urban areas, and concentrating ownership of land and capital. In addition, the traditional farming skill set, which by necessity included a diverse range of knowledge and abilities required to manage a farm, has given way to new generations of specialists. When farming for local consumption was a cornerstone of local economies, the farmer was an integral, leading member of the community, a far different position from today. Support for local food is seen by some as a way to rediscover valuable community structures, values and perspectives.
History of the local food movement
The local food movement in the European Union has been hindered by EU rules requiring things produced in the EU, including food, to be marked as products of the EU, rather than as products of any particular country. The instinct of customers to buy nationally produced food in the name of patriotism was deemed to be a barrier to free trade. Of course, as was mentioned above, for people living in the South of England, food produced in Northern France is more "local" than food produced in Scotland.
- colonial food
- food seasonality
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