Studying Food System Approaches in Three Types of Rural

Studying Food System Approaches in
Three Types of Rural Communities
Mary Hendrickson, MU Extension
Randy Cantrell, UNL Rural Initiative
Project Personnel
University of Missouri
Mary Hendrickson
Tom Johnson
Jessica Scott
University of Nebraska
Rural Initiative
Our project: NCRCRD Small Grants
• Received small grant to
focus on food system
strategies for rural
development that
– quality of life
– health
– economic vitality of
• Looked at 3 distinct rural
areas in Nebraska and
Three parts to our work
• Literature Review on local
foods– What was the latest
information coming out?
– USDA published Local Food
Systems: Concepts, Impacts
and Issues as project
progressed. See
Agriculture of the Middle
Three parts to our work
• How are rural
communities using local
food system strategies?
• Added more explicit
economic component
– Northeast Agricultural
and Resource Economics
Association Workshop
on the Economics of
Local Food Markets,
June 15-16, 2010
Finding out about food system strategies
• One day convening in SE
Nebraska and Northern Ozarks
in Missouri where groups could
connect via ITV
– Extension personnel developed
invitation list of those involved
in local foods through
production, facilitation,
consumption or economic
• Overview of the food system to
stimulate discussion, then
presentations from each
community on their strategies
involving local food systems
Finding out about food system
• Focus Group
conducted at each
site exploring local
food systems definitions,
information and
resources needed
• Report of the
conclusions groups
reached to the
other group
Similar Issues in 2
Different Rural Areas
• Access to good markets
– Agreement that
markets in rural areas
are challenging
• Affordability of food in
low-income rural areas
vs. livelihoods of
• Lack of supply for some
existing markets
– E.g. Hospital in Salem
interested in sourcing
local foods but few
farmers with capacity
and interest to supply
Similar Issues in Disparate Rural Areas
• Number of producers who had fixed
philosophies on producing and selling
– ‘This is the right way to sell my food.’
– Value statements about how they wanted to
produce and sell their products – ‘market
should adjust to me’
• Interest in local food systems from
multiple points of view, including health
– Community gardens, healthy living
significant themes
Decided to Study In-depth
• Applied for AFRI Sustainability for Small and
Medium-Sized Farmers grant in 2010
• Look at some of the ideas from preliminary
research like affordability, rural development
– Some assumptions that rural areas already have access
to this kind of food
– Different obstacles in rural areas to local food systems
especially in terms of limited numbers of consumers as
well as producers to aggregate
• New theme was to determine economic impacts of
local food systems
Key Questions to Answer:
• What are the motivations of small and
medium-sized farms to produce for
local/regional food systems? Are strategies
that incorporate local/regional food
systems useful for helping farmers with
small and medium-sized operations meet
their whole life goals?
• What are the economic and social impacts
of local/regional food systems for rural
communities? What are the opportunities
for small and medium-sized farms located
in remote rural to capture value for their
communities from urban areas?
This project work is being supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive
Grant no. 2011-67023-30084 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Key Questions to Answer:
• What are the factors that motivate consumer behavior
as they relate to locally grown foods in different
geographic and socioeconomic contexts?
– Does access and desire for locally produced foods differ
based on income and geographies?
– Are rural and lower income consumers more likely to be
focused on price as a basis for food purchases?
– Are urban consumers more likely to incorporate preferences
for quality, taste and values into food purchasing decisions?
– Alternately, are rural consumers highly motivated to acquire
locally grown foods due to their proximity to farms and
farming neighbors, provided their price threshold is not
For Local Food Systems for Rural
Development, the Key Question is
• How do the
values and
of farmers
producing for
food systems
link with
values and
Carsey Institute Typology
• Check out project website at:
• Producer Survey with approx. 180 farmers –
Jan – Mar 2012
• Input/Output Survey with 30 farmers – Oct
• Consumer Focus Groups – Late Summer Fall
2012 – early 2013
Local Producer Survey
• Who? Anyone who has sold or is
selling local foods to neighbors, at
farmers’ markets, roadside stands, to
school food service anything
• What information do we want to
know? What channels are they using,
what are their motivations, what are
their perceived opportunities, what
are the barriers to participating in local
food systems, approximate volume
Economic Input/Output Survey
Ask selected producers from
across these regions to estimate
income from local food sales
that takes place in their area,
the state or outside of those
areas, and then to estimate the
expenses in the same way
Focus Groups Conducted with Rural and Urban Consumers
Type of Consumer
Spatial Context
Remote Rural
Direct Market
Salem Farmers Market
Salem, Missouri (chronically poor)
Rural Ozarks Grocery 1&2
Rural Old Trails Farmers Market
(declining resource, amenity rich)
Rural Old Trails Grocery 1 &2
Rural Nebraska Farmers Market
(declining resource dependent)
Rural Nebraska Grocery Store 1&2
Rolla Farmers Market
Rolla Grocery Store
High Income Omaha Farmers Market
High Income Omaha Grocery Store
Low Income Omaha Farmers Market
Low Income Omaha Grocery Store
High Income Kansas City Farmers
High Income Kansas City Grocery
Lower Income Urban Market
Lower Income Urban Grocery
Medium Metro
Large Metro
Interested in motivations for shopping for local foods, perceived benefits,
opportunities and constraints for their participation in local food systems
The funding for both phases of this
work is extremely appreciated.
• Thank you to the North Central Region Center for
Rural Development, part of USDA’s network of
rural development center for their award in their
small grants program that established our
partnership and funded preliminary research.
• Thank you to USDA National Institute of Food and
Agriculture Small and Medium-Sized Farms
research program for support for our research.
• To contact project personnel, check out the
website: or
contact one of us:
– Dr. Mary Hendrickson – [email protected]
or 573-882-7463
– Dr. Tom Johnson – [email protected] or 573882-2157
– Jess Scott – [email protected] or 573-882-3776
– Dr. Randy Cantrell – [email protected] or
– Kim Peterson – [email protected] or 402-472-9287

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