To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
National interest in the effects of the U.S. food system has risen to such a level that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies was compelled recently to publish A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System (IOM/NRC 2015), focusing on health, environmental, and economic and social variables. While providing a useful framework, the volume stopped short of actually carrying out studies to validate or test the assumptions of the framework. In addition to having measurable societal effects, food systems are also being affected by powerful secular forces that range from rising income inequality, consolidation and rationalization in retailing, consumer preferences for local and regional foods, to changes in climate and competition for land associated with urbanization. In parallel, an expanding “food movement” has emerged that, with little formal or rigorous analysis, has become highly critical of the food system and its consequent health, environmental, and economic and social effects.
Food hubs are of interest in regional and local food system development because they potentially enhance the sustainability of food supply chains. Expanding on earlier literature, this study introduces economies of scale into an aggregation hub location model and disaggregates production into four seasons to account for geographic and seasonal variation of US fresh produce production. A mixed integer linear programming model is formulated with the objective of minimizing total costs of assembly and first-handler operations. Results suggest scale economies have significant effects on the optimal number, locations, and sizes of aggregation hubs. We model regional and local food systems in a manner more consistent with economic theory and provide a richer framework for policy analysis.
Farm-to-school (F2S) local food procurement must be cost-effective to be financially sustainable without policy support. We test, among schools participating in F2S programs, whether market channel procurement strategies for local foods affect schools’ perceptions of whether meal costs decline as a result of F2S participation. Schools that buy local foods exclusively from intermediaries are 7 percentage points less likely to report lower costs from undertaking F2S initiatives. We further demonstrate that the probability that schools source local foods exclusively from intermediaries is influenced by the number of direct marketing farmers in their county.
A large and growing body of literature has studied consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for local foods in the United States. However, these studies implicitly assume that consumers perceive local foods to have superior quality than nonlocal foods. Little is known about WTP for local foods when taking into account differences in consumer perception of food quality between local and nonlocal foods. In this article, we conduct an economic experiment to assess the effect of locally grown information on consumer WTP and quality perceptions of three broccoli varieties (one commercial variety grown in California and two newly developed local varieties). Our results show that consumers rate both the appearance and the taste of the two local broccoli varieties lower than the California variety when evaluating food quality blindly. However, consumers’ evaluations of the two local varieties improve substantially after being told the two varieties are locally grown. Results also indicate that consumers are willing to pay a price premium for the two local varieties after being told that they are locally grown. Our results provide evidence that locally grown information has a positive effect on both consumer WTP and quality perception of local foods.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves as the primary tool to alleviate food insecurity in the United States. Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in numerous studies, but the majority of SNAP recipients are still food insecure. One factor behind this is the difference in food prices across the country—SNAP benefits are not adjusted to reflect these differences. Using information from Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap (MMG) project, we compare the cost of a meal by county based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP)—which is used to set the maximum SNAP benefit—with the cost of the average meal for low-income food-secure households. We find that the cost of the latter meal is higher than the TFP meal for over 99 percent of the counties. We next consider the reduction in food insecurity if, by county, the maximum SNAP benefit level was set to the cost of the average meal for low-income food-secure households. We find that if this approach were implemented, there would be a decline of 50.9 percent in food insecurity among SNAP recipients at a cost of $23 billion.
Consumers in the United States fall short of meeting the recommended guideline for dietary fiber intake. Using a quarterly panel of households from Nielsen for the years 2004 through 2014, we employ a Heckman two-step approach to estimate nine panel regressions concerning per person fiber intakes derived from various food categories to uncover the importance of prices as well as socioeconomic and demographic factors. Prices play a prominent role in the per person intake of dietary fiber derived from the respective food products considered. Households below poverty thresholds had lower intakes of fiber relative to households above poverty thresholds. Ethnicity, race, age of the household head, region, and the presence of children also had significant effects on dietary fiber derived from the respective food categories. A proposed 20 percent subsidy applied to fruits and vegetables would increase per person intake of fiber by 9.4 percent. Therefore, if one were to consider meeting the dietary fiber requirement only through the provision of a subsidy, a large subsidy applied to fruits and vegetables would be required. Therefore, given the complex nature of the various factors affecting the intake of dietary fiber, the feasibility of using subsidies alone to increase the intake of dietary fiber is called into question.
This paper summarizes a multi-state, multi-year study assessing the potential for local agriculture in northern New England. While largely rural, this region's agricultural sector differs greatly from the rest of the United States, and demand for locally produced food has been increasing. To assess this unique economic landscape, researchers and Cooperative Extension at the Universities of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont investigated four key areas: (1) local food capacities, (2) constraints to agricultural expansion, (3) consumer preferences for local and organic produce, and (4) the role of intermediaries as alternative local food outlets. The project included input from local farmers, Extension members, restaurants, and the general public. We present the four research areas in a sequential, overlapping fashion. The timing of our research was such that each step in the process informed the next and can be used as a template for assessing a region's potential for local agricultural production.
Schools provide a unique opportunity to influence healthy eating decisions in children. Field experiments provide a practical tool for evaluating the types of interventions that can have the largest impact on these decisions in the short and long run. This article provides some insights on conducting field experiments in schools; the issues it covers are related to data collection, randomization, heterogeneous treatment effects, and statistical inference.
Reducing agricultural nonpoint pollution has been an environmental policy issue since the early 1980s. We discuss the evolution and results of federal and state policy, the contributions of applied economic research to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of water pollution control policies for agriculture, elements of policy reforms that are consistent with the Clean Water Act, and the outlook for needed policy innovation.