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Home  > Local and Regional Food Systems  > Why Local Foods?

Why Local Foods?

Farmers' Market

Local and regional food systems are a key ingredient to ensuring economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Buying local supports the viability of local economies and helps keep family farmers farming. It also creates a connection between consumers and local farmers that enhances both individual and community health. A strong and sustainable local food system should rely on ecological principles and preserve natural resources. These systems should also provide access to people with limited income. Programs such as urban agriculture, community gardens, farmers markets and farm to school programs are making this critical connection. This section provides information, resources, and models on how farmers and consumers can actively participate in the development of local and regional food systems.

NOTE: Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Acrobat Reader.


ATTRA Publications

Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions - IP242


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Community Supported Agriculture - IP289


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Direct Marketing - IP113


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Farm Food Safety and Organic Certification Co-Compliance Guide for Specialty Crop Farmers - IP541


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy
Farm to School Sales: Profiles of Ranches Making It Work - IP539


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Farmers Markets: Marketing and Business Guide - IP146

PDF Price: $1.99 for non-members
Kindle Price: $1.99

 • Summary • Buy PDF  • Buy Kindle • Buy Print Copy
New Markets for Your Crops - IP328


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy
Selling to Restaurants - IP255


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Start a Farm in the City - IP350


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy


Further Resources

Food Routes
The Food Routes Network is a national nonprofit organization that provides communications tools, technical support, and information resources to organizations nationwide that are working to rebuild local, community-based food systems.
Slow Food USA
Members of Slow Food USA's 200 chapters work to raise public awareness, improve access and encourage the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal and sustainably grown.
Sustainable Table
Sustainable Table celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build community through food.
The Community Food Security Coalition
Organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times.
Worldwatch Institute
Worldwatch Institute's Sustainable Agriculture Program provides information, research, and resources for creating accessible food systems that benefit farmers, consumers, and ecosystems.


Arrow Icon For an extended list of local food resources, please visit ATTRA's Local Food Resources Section.


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This page was last updated on: January 19, 2015