Local Food Systems: A Food Citizens Quest for Sustainability



Local food systems improve food and nutrition security, conserve natural resources, and promote sustainable development and community-based agriculture.



Globalization of the food industry has led to a cascade of environmental, economic and social implications. Interest in community-based, local food systems are emerging to alleviate some of these effects. The global food system was developed to increase efficiency in production, diversify consumer choice, and ultimately decrease consumer expense. As a profit-based model, the food industry failed to see its impacts on the environment, our health and community welfare. As we approach the third decade of this millennium the impacts of globalization are increasingly evident and continue to collectively undermine sustainability. Local food systems improve food and nutrition security, conserve natural resources, and promote sustainable development and community-based agriculture.



There is currently no consensus on the geographical distance that defines “local”. There was an attempt to define this term in the 2008 Farm Act, that stated that any food labeled “local” must be produced in the “locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from its origin.” For context, Vancouver Island is 290 miles in length and 62 miles at its widest point (Hello BC, 2016). A 400-mile radius would include most of Southern and Central BC, extending just beyond the BC-Alberta border. To the south the radius would include all of Washington and most of Oregon, USA. This geographical radius provides us with a sufficient range of food choices and geographical landscapes to support a number of crop varieties.



Although local food selections often cost more than those from conventional suppliers, the benefits substantiate the expense. Local foods increase the internal health of individuals, promote higher standards of environmental sustainability, and improve community well-being.



Health Benefits: