Rural food systems

A vibrant local food system can be an economic, social and healthful boon for a rural community. Although many benefits of a local food system are common to both urban and rural communities, rural areas have a historical precedence for food production, whether on farms or in home gardens. Also, in rural areas the knowledge and infrastructure necessary for food production often is more readily available from family members, neighbors and businesses. Agritourism ventures, such as wineries and u-pick farms, are opportunities for rural communities to market locally produced food to residents and tourists. The growing demand of urban consumers for locally produced food is a significant economic opportunity for rural farmers to increase food production for urban areas in the region. This shift in urban thinking also encourages local entrepreneurs to develop production, marketing, processing and distribution operations that capitalize on the increased demand for locally produced food.

The following Web pages and publications explore ways rural communities can increase the reach of their local food systems.