Skip to main content

SCRC Fellows Study Local Food and Sustainable Supply Chains

A recent story posted by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems highlights the role of our two research fellows, Jessica Newsome and Sebastian Naskaris.  The fellows will provide supply chain research and expertise to develop successful, economically viable connections between local food producers and mainstream retail and institutional food buyers. Fellows will analyze the sourcing practices of NCGT project partners as well as research novel practices used by other retail and food service companies across the country.

Sustainability involves a number of important concepts that are embodied in the concept of building local food systems.  First, local food involves optimization of local resources, and reducing the carbon footprint associated with the food that is imported from all over the world of from other states like California.  Second, local food is closely regulated using standards that we know will ensure food safety, proper handling, and adoption of crop management practices that comply with the USDA and other regulatory bodies, that are designed to minimize damage to the soil, water systems, and animals.  Finally, local food provides a means of living for local producers, and ensures that our farming and maritime communities remain viable.

The study will explore many of these concepts, and Jessica and Sebastian will be working hard this semester collecting data to form value stream maps, identify gaps in distribution systems and regulatory challenge that exist, and studying gaps that can be addressed through improved design of local food systems.  Our initial insights reveal that many producers struggle to fully understand the safety and regulatory issues, but that there are also problems with distribution that could require a different way of aggregating production to help farmers compete with large importers and commercial farms.