Scaling-up regional fruit and vegetable distribution: potential for adaptive change in the food system
- 741 Downloads
As demand for locally grown food increases there have been calls to ‘scale-up’ local food production to regionally distribute food and to sell into more mainstream grocery and retail venues where consumers are already shopping. Growing research and practice focusing on how to improve, expand and conceptualize regional distribution systems includes strategies such as value chain development using the Agriculture of the Middle (AOTM) framework. When the Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council asked how they could scale-up the distribution of Ohio fresh fruits and vegetables to Ohioans, we decided to use this practical opportunity to not only provide recommendations to this council, but to simultaneously contribute to the literature on AOTM, value-based and spatially–proximate relationships, and conceptualizations of food system hybridity. We do this while examining an entire sub-sector of the Ohio agricultural economy, namely fruit and vegetables and applying the AOTM framework beyond the farm, namely to distributors and retailers. Through interviews with Ohio retailers and a survey of all fresh fruit and vegetable distributors Ohio we: (1) Describe current distribution systems within the state; (2) Identify firms interested in scaling-up distribution, and; (3) Inform state-level policy efforts by identifying opportunities to better target any state-level policy and program efforts. We demonstrate support for the concept of AOTM applied beyond the farm, for value chain development strategies that can transmit ‘quality’ via spatially proximate supply chains, and support for considering hybrid solutions, such as piggybacking for scaling-up local food systems. This work highlights the role a statewide food policy council can have in facilitating market development and their unique position to provide public sector and institutional support to facilitate meaningful connections in the food system.
KeywordsDistribution Agriculture of the Middle Hybridity Food policy council Food hub Aggregation
Agriculture of the middle
Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council
Short food supply chains
United States Department of Agriculture
Funding for this project was provided through a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture under the provisions of the Specialty Crop Block Grant. We thank Jeff Sharp for his guidance. We thank the survey respondents for taking the time to fill out our survey and the retailers for allowing us to interview them. Finally, we thank Harvey James, Emily Stengel and the anonymous reviewers for their feedback.
- American Farmland Trust. n.d. Ohio Creates New Food Policy Council. Washington, DC: American Farmland Trust. http://188.8.131.52/programs/states/oh/ohioFoodPolicyCouncil.asp. Accessed 18 June 2015.
- Barham, J., D. Tropp, K. Enterline, J. Farbman, J. Fisk, and S. Kiraly. 2012. Regional food hub resource guide. Washington, DC: AMS, USDA.Google Scholar
- Blue Book Services. n.d. Blue Book Services. https://www.producebluebook.com/. Accessed 30 July 2014.
- Clancy, K., and K. Ruhf. 2010. Is local enough? Some arguments for regional food systems. Choices 25(1). http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=114. Accessed 25 May 2015.
- Day-Farnsworth, L., B. McCown, M. Miller, and A. Pfeiffer. 2009. Scaling up: Meeting the demand for local food. Madison, WI: Ag Innovation Center & Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin.Google Scholar
- Fischer, M., M. Hamm, R. Pirog, J. Fisk, J. Farbman, and S. Kiraly. 2013. Findings of the 2013 national food hub survey. Lansing, MI: Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University & The Wallace Center at Winrock International.Google Scholar
- Goldschmidt, W. 1978. Large-scale farming and rural social-structure. Rural Sociology 43(3): 362–366.Google Scholar
- GPO. 2008. Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, PL 110–246, HR 6124. Washington, DC: Government Publishing Office. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ246/html/PLAW-110publ246.htm. Accessed 25 May 2015.
- Lobao, L.M. 1990. Locality and inequality: Farm and industry structure and socioeconomic conditions. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Low, S.A., and S. Vogel. 2011. Direct and intermediated marketing of local foods in the United States. Washington, DC: ERS, USDA.Google Scholar
- Lyson, T. A., G.W. Stevenson, and R. Welsh. 2008. Food and the mid-level farm: Renewing an agriculture of the middle. food, health and environment. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Matson, J., M. Sullins, and C. Cook. 2013. The role of food hubs in local food marketing. Washington, DC: USDA.Google Scholar
- OEFFA. 2012. OEFFA and Countryside conservancy partner to help farmers scale up and expand availability of local produce. Columbus, OH: OEFFA. http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=933. Accessed 5 June 2015.
- Perosio, D. J., E. W. McLaughlin, S. Cuellar, and K. Park. 2001. Supply chain management in the produce industry. R.B. 01-05. Ithaca, NY: Department of Agricultural, Resource, and Managerial Economics, Cornell University.Google Scholar
- Perrett, A. 2007. The infrastructure of food procurement and distribution: Implications for famers in Western North Carolina. Asheville, NC: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.Google Scholar
- Pirog, R., T. Van Pelt, K. Enshayan, and E. Cook. 2001. Food, fuel, and freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Ames, IA: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University.Google Scholar
- Stahlbrand, L. 2014. Institutional local sustainable food procurement: Building capacity. In Paper presented at the sustainable regional food systems workshop: Theory, practice and policy. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University.Google Scholar
- USDA ERS. 2010. Food CPI and expenditures: Table 2. Washington, DC: ERS, USDA. http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/cpifoodandexpenditures/Data/Expenditures_tables/table2.htm. Accessed 22 Jul 2011.
- USDA NASS. 2014a. 2012 Census of Agriculture, United States Summary and State Data. Washington, DC: ERS, USDA. http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/usv1.pdf. Accessed 2 Aug 2014.
- USDA NASS. 2014b. Quick Stats. http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/?source_desc=CENSUS. Accessed 6 Mar 2015.
- Webb, M., and J.K. Clark. 2009. Local foods: Estimating capacity for Ohio Food Policy Council—Food Assessment Task Force. Columbus, OH: Center for Farmland Policy Innovation, Ohio State University.Google Scholar