In 2003, ASAP launched a multiyear research project to determine how food and other farm products move through the production and distribution system of Western North Carolina. The study, Growing Local: Implications for Western North Carolina, provides a detailed look at the food and farming economy of Western North Carolina and explores the potential to expand local markets for local farm products. The Growing Local report, published in 2007, was one of the first food and farm assessments of its kind in the country. Since that time, the LFRC has partnered with other communities to conduct similar food and farm assessment projects that help them more fully understand the local food potential in their regions.

Our assessments help communities identify opportunities to support local agriculture and expand their local food systems. In these assessments, we examine the relationship between the foods grown in a region and consumption and spending by local residents. In addition to production, consumption, and spending, we often examine perceptions around local food and agriculture by community members and food industry businesses. Based on our analysis and interpretation of the research, we often provide a tailored set of recommendations for action and next steps to guide each community in fulfilling its unique local food goals.


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