18.12.2012 |

Boosting Local Food Production by Linking Producers and Consumers

Locally grown vegetables from Washington
Locally grown vegetables from Western Washington (Photo: MaestroBen/flickr)

A new study published on Friday examines the state of local food production in western Washington and identifies ways to develop a food supply that is more local. The report ‘Planting the Seeds’ summarises the findings of the Western Washington Foodshed Study, a project carried out by the American Farmland Trust and the University of Washington from 2011-2012. According to the study, only 25% of the food consumed in western Washington is grown locally, with the rest coming predominantly from the Midwest and overseas. The study suggests that it could be possible to increase this amount to over 60% if four strategies were adopted: bringing land back into food production; increasing yields on active farmland (e.g. by applying improved practices for sustainable agriculture); cutting food waste; and changing people’s diets. The report also highlights several approaches to increase the availability of local food, such as reconnecting food producers and consumers through simpler supply chains. “Farmers markets and community-supported agriculture are a good start, as are grocery chains that specialise in local food sources,” said Dennis Canty, Pacific Northwest Director of American Farmland Trust. The authors also recommend eating more food which is grown seasonally. Local food systems support the economic viability of farmers and rural communities, avoid urban sprawl and guarantee a regular supply of delicious and healthy food, the study concludes.

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