Primary production—and especially
food production—is the foundation of the exchange
economy that provides
locally-grown food will be more resilient in the face of global
disruptions such as transportation breakdowns, price
hikes, or financial crashes.
Supporting local food producers means supporting local self-reliance.
Local food can also have health and
ecological benefits. Local food means reduced food miles, and
closer farmer-to-consumer relationships may also mean
more accountability and
quicker feedback about food
quality and its links to soil health. Small
farmers are often in the best position to work with nature, growing
organically, building soil
carbon, and otherwise caring for soils and watersheds.
A niche market—such as a dedicated local market—is usually
essential to help small farmers survive.
(CSAs) offer one approach for
farming. A CSA farm usually has a dedicated customer base, such
as seasonal subscribers who
receive a weekly share of a farm's fresh, seasonal produce, straight
from the farm.
farmers have a dedicated income source, they are insulated from some
of the risks of crop failures, giving them an opportunity to work for
long-term gains rather than short-term survival. Their farms are
biodiverse because they must provide subscribers
with variety in their food
boxes. Subscribers often have
opportunities to visit 'their'
farm, and even to help out, so that farmers
and eaters are aware and invested in farm sustainability, soil
enrichment, watershed protection, and the health of plants and
Economies is aware of a few
in New Zealand:
We welcome information about additional CSAs, and we're happy to
recommend resources to help others adopt this model.
Pop-up farmers' markets are a cooperative approach to connecting customers and local, small, and niche farmers. Local markets have many models. Those who wish to develop a primary food economy might want to take a look at the model promoted by Farmers' Market New Zealand, a membership-based organisation that requires member markets to follow these rules:
Another creative and cooperative approach is a straight-to-doorstep box delivery system, where regular customers (e.g. weekly subscribers) order food, especially fruit and veg, through an intermediary that provides a market for multiple local farms. Ooooby offers one such system within multiple New Zealand communities.
Check out our online news article for more about the above solutions and other types of 'food pools'.
For those with a green thumb or the willingness to learn, local food
can begin at home, or among neighbours in a community space:
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Living Economies Educational Trust (LE) promotes exchange systems and investment models that build community strength and well-being, offer interest-free alternatives to 'business as usual', and respect both people and our living planet. Our network of volunteers can recommend resources and provide educational support for community initiatives. LE (CC 38114) is a registered educational charity, and we do not provide financial or legal advice.
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