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Conventional versus Local Supply Chains for Fruits and Vegetables: A Comparative Study of Environmental, Nutritional and Economic Issues
 

Summary: Conventional versus Local Supply Chains for Fruits and Vegetables: A
Comparative Study of Environmental, Nutritional and Economic Issues
Consumer interest in locally grown fruits and vegetables (F&V) has increased sharply in
recent years. This interest is reflected in public discourse on issues related to
environmental issues, health, and community. Local foods are prominently featured in
various recent best-selling books (e.g. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and
Deep Economy by Bill McKibben). The growing demand for local foods is prompting
rapid changes in supply chains for F&V. The growth in local food is highlighted by the
recent increase in the number of farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture
(CSA) programs in the United States. The number of farmers markets increased from
1,775 in 1994 to 4,385 in 2006 (USDA-AMS, 2007) and the number of CSA programs
increased from 50 in 1990 to over 1,900 in 2008 (Hartman Group, 2008). In addition, a
growing number of supermarkets and restaurants feature a wide array of local food
products.
In spite of their rapid growth, very little is known about the impact of F&V local supply
chains on the environment, on economic welfare of channel members (from farmers to
consumers), and on the nutrition of the end consumer. Given the diversity of stakeholders
involved, as well as significant technical, institutional, and funding issues, the
magnitudes and the scope of the impacts are uncertain. In particular, we do not know how
local supply chains for F&V perform in these three dimensions with respect to

  

Source: Angenent, Lars T. - Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University

 

Collections: Renewable Energy; Engineering