Home production: Tier 0

Tier 0, the most local level of the food system, includes home and community gardens, hunting and fishing, and home food preservation. In this tier, we are connected in the most basic way to our food because we produce it, cook or preserve it and then eat it.

Benefits and challenges of Tier 0

Described below are some potential benefits and challenges of Tier 0 of the food system. For more information, see the Tier 0 resources on the Consumer resources, Community resources and Farmer and food business resources pages.

For consumers


  • Individual food tastes can be addressed.
  • Costs of food access may be reduced.
  • A real connection to one’s food may be created.


  • Requires some knowledge and skills, time, space, and money for tools and other resources.

For farmers


  • Consumers who garden or hunt are likely to better appreciate the effort of growing food and thus be more willing to pay for high-quality food grown locally.
  • Gardening can be an educational transition for people considering producing food in larger quantities, potentially increasing the number of farmers available to provide locally grown produce.


  • Farmers participating in local food systems often already grow their own food.
  • People who grow their own food may purchase less from local farmers.

For communities


  • Home gardening increases the amount of food available in an area.
  • Community gardening increases food access and social interaction, as community gardeners often share skills, build connections and help one another.
  • Gardening, hunting and food preservation can help promote and preserve the heritage of a community through use of traditional foods or production methods.


  • Local government may need to consider adopting planning ordinances that support or encourage gardens in place of traditional lawns and that address health concerns related to livestock within city limits or other issues that may arise from gardening within city limits.
  • Community gardens require significant leadership and volunteer commitment for success.


Next: Direct from farmer: Tier 1