Local Food Economies

Improve the production, processing, storage, and distribution of local foods.

Learn about the co-benefits of Local Food Economies below.


Community Farms and Gardens

Allocate and maintain land for community farms and gardens.

Farm to Institution

Support procurement of local foods in schools, hospitals, and early care and education centers.

Local Food Production

Increase local production, processing, and distribution of food through food hubs, cooperatives, farmers markets, community kitchens, and other efforts.

School Gardens

Provide training and technical support for educators in creating and sustaining garden-based education programs in schools and early care environments.


Local Food Economies co-benefits include:

Community Cohesion: Local food production fosters relationships between local growers and buyers. In addition, community gardens can increase neighborhood cohesion, attractiveness, perceptions of safety, and sense of community.

Wellbeing: Spending time outdoors in green spaces has been shown to positively impact mental wellbeing, restore attention, and reduce depressive symptoms.

Nutrition: Local food tends to be fresher, with less nutrient loss and fewer chemicals used to grow them.

Education: School garden use and class time spent outdoors has been associated with better academic performance, fewer behavioral issues in the classroom, increased attention, and the development of environmental stewardship.

Economic: Local food production can stimulate economic growth and development, create jobs, diversify production, encourage entrepreneurial activity, and keep money in a community. Small farms also preserve open space and the character of the local landscape, which is important for tourism and recreation.

Environment: Local food production benefits the environment and wildlife diversity. Small farms can provide ecosystem services by conserving soil and protecting water sources. They also protect farm-edge wildlife habitat in rural areas. In addition, many local food producers use fewer pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Health Benefits: Working in school and community gardens can lead to increased physical activity. In addition to reducing obesity, good nutrition and physical activity can also reduce the risks of the following health related problems:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Colon cancer
  • LDL or “bad” cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Heart attack and stroke