Strategies for a sustainable food system: Organization and implications of a corporate-led model of food system regionalization

Project: Research project

Project Details


NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Regional food systems have been promoted as a potential vehicle for improving the sustainability of the agri-food system by (1) increasing market opportunities for producers, (2) decreasing carbon emissions in distribution, and (3) improving low-income consumer access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Supermarket retailers may be uniquely positioned to be the intermediaries in developing sustainable regional food systems because their well-developed infrastructure enables efficiencies in these three areas. In order to address growing consumer demand for sustainable products, many supermarkets are now implementing programs that include increased regional sourcing of fresh fruits and vegetables. This research will focus on the largest global retailer, the Walmart Corporation, in order to explore how these changes in procurement patterns affect producers, including an assessment of what outside organizations step in to provide resources and training. In addition, it will analyze whether regional sourcing increases the availability and accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income consumers. Information from this research will provide important data that can be used by producers and the organizations that work with them to design strategies and programs to enhance producers' ability to participate in this growing market. The results of this study will also be important for policy-makers to assess the form and operation of private-public partnerships to ensure the desired outcomes of a more sustainable food system.

Effective start/end date8/15/118/14/13


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: $75,000.00


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