ASAP’s Local Food Research Center (LFRC), established in 2012, studies the role and importance of building strong local and regional food systems. Examples of our work include exploring the relationship between localizing our food system and creating healthier communities, examining the types of conversations that farmers are having with consumers, deepening our understanding of the particular challenges that farmers face in growing for and selling to local markets, and identifying key strategies for overcoming these challenges and strengthening support for local food and farms.
The Value of Local Food Systems Research
We believe that our research is critical for building more just, resilient, and sustainable food systems. On a national level, our food system is broken. The way in which most of our food is arriving on our plates has significant societal and environmental costs. In response, we are studying the effects of local food system development to increase our understanding of its social, environmental, and economic benefits and to guide our efforts of transforming our food system.
The research that we conduct is used to inform our work, advance our mission, and build greater support for local food and farms in communities across the country. All of our research is grounded in our theory of food system change – that to develop a more vibrant, transparent, resilient, and just food system, we need to encourage broad participation and help create meaningful experiences for people around local food and farms. We believe that if all of us become more knowledgeable about and engaged in our food system, together, we have more capacity to make a significant difference in our food system. We are committed to partnering with other food system practitioners in our research, sharing our findings with the public and at professional conferences, and using what we learn to guide our organizational programs.