A Regional Economics–Based Research Agenda for Local Food Systems


  • Kathryn A. Boys Virginia Polytechnic and State University
  • David W. Hughes University of Tennessee, Knoxville




Impact Analysis, Social Capital, Quality Of Life, Regional Branding


The purported benefits of local food systems (LFSs) are extensive and diverse. While a growing general literature has considered various aspects of these systems, this set of issues has not been broadly considered from the perspective of regional economics — a field that is uniquely suited to assess local food systems and the policies that affect them. This commentary attempts to narrow this gap. Research topics are considered that would allow for improved examination of the extent to which LFS directly and indirectly engender local economic growth. Also incorporated are research ideas concerning how to determine the distribution of benefits (socially, across income class, and geographically). In this regard, suggestions are also made concerning how to remove some of the limitations found in current analytical approaches.


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Author Biographies

Kathryn A. Boys, Virginia Polytechnic and State University

Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics; 322 Hutcheson Hall (0401); Virginia Tech; Blacksburg, Virginia 24061 USA; +1-540-231-0770.

David W. Hughes, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Professor, School of Agriculture, Forestry, and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University; Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0313 USA.



How to Cite

Boys, K. A., & Hughes, D. W. (2013). A Regional Economics–Based Research Agenda for Local Food Systems. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 145–150. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.034.012