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					Cooperatives in Local Food Systems

              Elisabeth Howard

             November 20, 2003
 UW Center for Cooperatives Brown Bag Series
Cooperatives in Local Food Systems

    1. Local Food Systems
    2. One Area of Research: Institutions
    3. My Masters Thesis Topic
Local Food Systems
       The biophysical and
  socioeconomic processes and
   relationships involved in the
      production, processing,
     distribution, marketing,
consumption and disposal of food.
“Where are we then?…”
“…We are embedded in a global food system
structured around a market economy which is
geared to the proliferation of commodities and
the destruction of the local…”
“…We are faced with transnational agribusiness
whose desire to extend and consolidate their global
reach implies the homogenization of our food, our
communities, and our landscapes…”
 “…We live in a world in which we are ever
 more distant from each other and from the
    land, and so we are increasingly less
responsible to each other and to the land…”
“…Where do we go from here?…”
“…How can we come home again?”

  (Kloppenberg, Stevenson, Hendrickson, 1996)
 “In addition to yield potential,
economic feasibility depends on
the availability of outlets for the
 produce, the market price, and
     the cost of production.”
    (Colette & Wall, 1978)
Farmers Markets
On-Farm Markets
Grocery Stores
"We strive to work
 with ingredients that
 are cultivated in
 accordance with their
 natural cycles, and
 are grown in their
 native and adapted

                         “Our inspiration is drawn
                         from French and American
                         cuisines, spotlighting
                         locally grown, organic
Food Service
        One area of research:

How do farmers sell to local institutions?
      (grocery stores, restaurants, food service)
     Between Farm and Institution
Essential Intermediate Functions
• Cultivate relationships
• Brokerage
• Processing
                   Who does this?
• Distribution
                   1. Non-Profits
                   2. For-Profits
                   3. Government Agencies
                   4. Cooperatives
Red Tomato

• 1998, Canton, MA
• Act as broker/distributor
• Sell to grocery stores
• Goal: To “reinvent local food systems”
Project Farm Fresh Start
• 1994, Hartford, CT
• Farms sell to school district food service

• Local wholesaler coordinates purchasing
 Iowa Farm      •West Des
                Moines, IA
Bureau Dining   •Loffredo
   Facility     Fresh Produce
     DOD Fresh Produce Program
(North Carolina, Kentucky, New Jersey, others)

 • Coordination between state Departments of
 Agriculture and US Department of Defense

 • Use existing market expertise, quality
 assurance, and procurement and distribution
•1997, one school district
•Wash, chop, bag, weigh, deliver
•2001, 15 school districts, 3 states
• Postville, IA, 11 members
• Sell to group shelters,
hospitals, nursing homes,
health care facilities, school
district, college, restaurants
• Online ordering
• Wash, process, deliver
• South-central WI, 23 farms
• Sell to high-end restaurants in
     Madison, Milwaukee, Sheboygan
     and Chicago area
• UW food service
• Madison Metropolitan School District
    Food Service
•Collaboration between UW, MMSD
food service, local farmers, parents,
teachers, community members
•Pilot project in three Madison schools
in fall of 2003
•Local ingredients from Home Grown
Wisconsin in new menu options
•Special event meals
Thesis Topic
Compare Local Produce Marketing Options
        • Farmers Markets
        • On-Farm Markets
        • CSA
        • Institutions (restaurants, food
                service, grocery stores)
    Based On:
         •Expected Returns
         •Price Risk

• Personal interviews with farmers in south-
     central Wisconsin
          - Two different samples
          - Criteria
Qualitative questions (access,
    methods,objectives, obstacles,

Quantitative questions (prices & costs)
   using five crops: carrots, tomatoes,
   potatoes, strawberries, salad mix
Simulate Model of Typical Farm

    - Use price and cost information
    - Look at dynamic effects of changing
         certain variables (market access, risk
         aversion, etc.)
       Expected Results
• Access to local markets will be an issue
• Farms use strategic mix of marketing options
   • What is “local”?
   • Geography
Who will find this useful?
    - Help in sorting out decisions about
        production and marketing
•Those who promote local food systems
    - Are there inefficiencies or
        infrastructure needs that could
        be addressed

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