Some Benefits and Drawbacks for Local Food – A reaction Part II

In the article I mentioned yesterday, it covers some benefits, but also discusses some problems with the local food systems in place.

To start off, here are the good things the author mentions:

  1. Environmental benefits through more sustainable production systems reduce transport externalities – in this case, they eliminate food kilometers or food miles in the process of eliminating the greenhouse gases produced when transporting goods.
  2. Economic benefits though greater incomes for farmers and more financial contributions to local economies – Farmers are able to cut out the intermediary and sell directly to the consumers, receiving a majority of the profit.
  3. Social benefits through greater trust and connectedness between and within consumers and producer groups – people are more likely to eat well when they make conscious decisions about food.

The author also touches on some issues that need to be fixed before local food can be in any policy.

  • Problems with diseconomies of scale – how can local farmers compete with multinational cash crops?
  • Problems with personal work benefits and aspirations – when people are attracted to greater incomes it is hard for people to stay in their local business.
  • Problems with upstream and downstream jobs – how many jobs will be lost in the supply chain?
  • Problems with energy efficiency – how can small food businesses be encouraged to be energy efficient?
  • Problems with pathogenic bacteria – can localized food business protect from bacteria? What if it wipes out a crop?
  • Problems with policies – in what way can policies be adopted to help local food systems?

What do you think of these problems? Can they be fixed? Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave a comment


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