Greatest Challenges To Local Food

At Willamette University Dr. Chambers’ Sustainable Agriculture in the 21st Century class studied current challenges to food production and access and investigated the local food movement as a viable solution. Using three different perspectives of sustainability (economic, environment, and equity) as lenses to interpret peer-reviewed research on the local food movement and relevant data on the Willamette Valley the class determined the greatest challenges to the local food movement in this region.

Brief summaries from each of their perspectives are provided below. To read the students full analysis and recommendations for future research click on the associated links.

An Economic Perspective

Summary of Economic Challenges to the Local Food Movement in the Willamette Valley

  • list item Current Agroeconomics: the local food movement appears to have a more communal focus than increasingly centralized industrial agriculture. In addition there is the challenge of consumers mentality of a right to cheap food. Challenges in trying to focus both on profit and the more holistic goals of the local food movement.
  • list item Economics of Exports: exports reduce the availability of local food yet provide greater profits for local farmers. Challenges of the opportunity costs of switching existing profitable, often non-edible, export crop production to local food production.
  • list item Economies of Scales: large commercial production benefits from subsidies that may deter a switch to local food production. In addition large farms do not appear to be conducive to the goals of the local food movement as expressed in the literature. Large farms also appear to have a comparative advantage in production at both a global and local level as well as benefiting from corporate marketing connections.

If Not Here, Where? Analyzing the Economics of the Willamette Valley’s Local Food Movement

An Environmental Perspective

Sustainaculture: An Environmentally Sustainable Model for Agriculture in Willamette Valley

An Equity Perspective

Ensuring Equity for Farmers, Workers and Consumers

After presenting each of the models the class worked to determine commonalities between the economic, environmental, and ethical perspectives as well as challenges, and recommendations for future research. The summary of our final considerations is included here:

Summary of Model Components, Anticipated Challenges to Implementation, and Recommendations for Future Research

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License