Food Systems

Sustainable Local Food System

Graphic used with permission, courtesy Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

What is a food system? What are its components? Who is involved, and how? Most of us don’t think much about these questions, we simply go to the store, fill our cart, and bring our food home. The bulk of the food Americans eat comes out of the global food system, involving large corporate farms, food processers, transportation systems, distribution hubs, and retailers. This system will continue to play a major role in feeding us, especially in the near future.

Another system also exists, much smaller and more local/regional in nature, that is growing slowly but steadily in response to consumer interest and demand. Strengthening this local/regional system is one of the interests of the Lakes Region Food Network, along with other similar networks around NH and New England. The more food we can produce close to home, the greater the buffer against disruptions in the global food system. Increasing local food production strengthens the local economy, by keeping the dollars circulating locally rather than flowing out to distant parties. Local food is usually fresher, due to reduced turn-around time from harvest to table. Building the local food market encourages farmers to keep farming, and attracts new farmers, which helps preserve farmland and the open space that makes NH such a beautiful place to be.

What are your thoughts about the local food system?