The Farmplate Blog

New Study Aims to Help Connect Rural Food Systems

Jeff Gangemi Feb 02, 2012 News 0 comments

Even though urban food systems typically require at least some supply to come from farms and producers outside of city limits, what about those producers outside of those food systems? The ones deep in the country?

A new study being conducted by the University of Missouri Extension and the University of Nebraska aims to formulate methodologies to develop more vibrant markets for those rural farmers. The study will target regions like the northern Ozarks, and it will be geared toward creating easier and smoother relationships between farmers and buyers.

The research is funded through a grant from the USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative fund. We look forward to learning the results of this important research. It’s just a hunch (and of course we at FarmPlate are biased), but we suspect that technology will play an increasingly important matchmaking role.

“Through the Local Food Linkages Project, researchers at MU and the University of Nebraska are collaborating to find ways for local farmers to build markets for their products in rural America.

That effort begins with local food producers. By filling out surveys, those farmers will help uncover the opportunities and obstacles facing local food growth.

‘A lot of the research shows that local food producers near metro areas do the most direct or local food marketing,’ said Mary Hendrickson, one of the study's principal investigators and an MU Extension professor. The USDA Economic Research Service reports average sales of about $11,000 per farm in metro areas from selling directly to consumers, but in rural areas that drops to just more than $6,000 per farm…”

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Image courtesy of Cloudland Farm