Monday, December 29, 2008

CSAs - a new food economy?

How wide and deep will the growth of Community Supported Agriculture be? This story, just published in The Franklin News online, explores the topic. From the story:

A new food economy that focuses on buying and eating locally is changing the way Americans shop for their food, according to a professor of agricultural economics.

"For many people, local (food) has become more important than organic," said John Ikerd, a professor at the University of Missouri. "These are people who show a strong preference for foods that are locally grown, seasonally available and produced without unnecessary additives or preservatives,"οΎ Ikerd told the recent Virginia Farm Bureau convention. The local movement represents an evolution toward a new American food economy, he said. The new food economy provides opportunities for American and Virginia farmers, particularly those with small farms that have found it difficult to compete in today's global markets, Ikerd said. Beyond roadside stands and farmers' markets, he said, the local food movement has boosted the use of community-supported agriculture systems (CSA). Current estimates range from 1,500 to 2,000 CSAs nationwide.

TK: "Changing the way Americans shop for their food" may be a reach, but local food will remain a hot button consumer issue for 2009. More supermarkets and restaurants will attempt to source local food, while consumers who are willing want to work and pay a little more may try the CSA route. Vulnerabilities could be the short attention span of consumers, the definition of local and how local farms fit into the grid of Good Agricultural Practices/sustainability.

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