What is local food?
Local food is produced at a short distance from the consumer and there are often fewer links in the food chain. The aim is to make production, processing and sales as local as possible. In general, three types of short chain initiatives can be distinguished:
1. Direct sale. There is direct contact with the farmer or producer. You can think of farm shops, gardens where you pick your own fruits, delivery services and online services. The product is ordered directly from the farmer or producer (or from one intermediary).
2. Local sales through a normal store. The product is sold in a local store (or in a market or food event). It is not so much for customers to get direct contact with the farmer or producer, but more about the local product and the origin.
3. Traceable products. The customer can easily find out who the manufacturer of his product is and how the product was produced via a label or QR code.
Why local food?
Before the food ends up on the consumer’s plate, it has often traveled a complicated route. The food has been transported from the farm over many kilometers, has undergone various operations, has been packaged and traded. Due to the anonymous large-scale food production, the consumer has the feeling of losing grip on the quality of his own food. Local food initiatives respond to this by producing, processing and selling locally, as much as possible. The customer is allowed insight into the origin of the food and the way it is produced. Often the customer has direct contact with the producer who not only shows what he is doing (transparency), but also does what he promises (trust). The product has traveled fewer transport kilometers and comes from a region to which the customer feels connected. In addition, local food often contributes to a positive identity of the region and a beautiful agricultural landscape.
What does it look like in practice and / or what are examples of companies?
In the rural areas, more and more short chains arise in which farmers and traders deliver fresh products directly to consumers. Some catering and specialty stores distinguish themselves in the market by making use of local products only. Moreover, the mainstream supermarkets often sell some regional products.
Who are the main initiators?
Mainly local producers who start cooperating and also more and more consumers who start asking for local products.
For further reading:
wikiwijs: Regional food how does it work? under section 2.6.2 "Characteristics and forms of short chain. (in Dutch)
Go to Theme D: Healthy Products
or go back to Theme B: Urban Agriculture