THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Soul of the Local Food Movement

  • John Ikerd University of Missouri, Columbia
Keywords: Local Food Movement, Organic Food


First paragraphs:

The local food movement has emerged from the erosion of public trust and confidence in organic foods. The organic food movement emerged as a consequence of declining trust and confidence in the conventional/industrial food system. As organic foods grew in popularity, there was a call for their standardization and certification to maintain the integrity of the movement. National organic certification also made organic foods accessible to more people by allowing organics to move into mainstream food markets. However, uniform organic standards also facili­tated the consolidation of control of organic production by large agri-food corporations.

To maximize profits, corporate processors and retailers pressured organic producers to minimize production costs, which meant moving toward the minimum enforceable organic production practices. The social and ethical integrity of the organic movement couldn’t be encoded in the sets of allowable and non-allowable organic inputs and production practices required for organic certifica­tion. Many organic consumers then turned to local farmers to restore trust and confidence in the social and ecological integrity of  their food. The philosophical mainstreams of the organic and local foods movements parted ways. Organic production surged ahead, but the heart and soul of organics were left behind (Ikerd, 2008). Many factors have contributed to the growing popularity of local foods. However, the modern local food movement was born out of the industrialization of organics.

Author Biography

John Ikerd, University of Missouri, Columbia
Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, Columbia
Portrait of John Ikerd

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