If you haven’t read the Congressional Research Service (“CRS”) Report titled “The Role of Local Food Systems in U.S. Farm Policy” then I recommend doing so. Prof. Neil Hamilton included it in the materials for this local food CLE last spring and I finally got a chance to review it. It’s chalk-full of helpful information, statistics, and data. The publication talks about the different definitions of “local food” based on distance traveled, marketing outlet, and perceived attributes.
Additionally, I especially enjoyed the information USDA program such a loans for agriculture producers, child nutrition programs, and farm-to-school programs. USDA initiatives including “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food”, Healthy Food Financing Initiative, and People’s Garden Initiative were also discussed in the CRS Report. Table 2 also has a helpful chart identifying the USDA agency and its role in supporting local/regional food programs (e.g., Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, Value-Added Producer Grants, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Prrogram, School Gardens).