Economic Benefits That Arise From Local Food Systems
Supplying local food through urban agriculture is an effective way to foster community engagement, and the demand for local food is increasing due to the positive perception of local food among the population. In particular, local food is a market because the increased demand for local food means that consumers, business owners, and urban gardeners can all take advantage of these opportunities.
- In general, plenty of businesses that grow local food have already sprung up. These businesses aim to provide local food to numerous businesses.
- As the demand for local food increases, there will be a need for increased labor. Hiring more people will help satisfy the demand for labor and also create a more lucrative business. It will also help foster an increased emphasis on local food within a community, which means that the market will only gain strength as it gets bigger.
- Local food helps impact the economy through “import substitution“. Basically, this concept reinforces the notion that buying products in the local area will only help support it further. Sales that are made through local farmers’ markets will accumulate, and these accumulated sales will further spread to other businesses in the same area. As a result, the additional income used by the neighboring businesses will help these companies gain advantages in productivity and sales.
- Farmers’ markets may also foster “the spillover effect”. In other words, a farmer’s market may make consumers well aware of commerce areas that were previously unknown to them. Since many consumers may frequent these markets, they will want to spend more time in the surrounding area. As the surrounding area may contain plenty of other local businesses, it will help those businesses as well.
- For farmers themselves, the benefits are many. Farmers tend to make more money through direct marketing and selling their products directly to consumers, rather than more traditional methods. In fact, farmers can get almost all of their investment back.
Farm-To Table Restaurants: A New Trend In Local Food
Rooftop Gardens & Grocery Stores
Rooftop gardens are famously known to provide food, cooling, and numerous other benefits for buildings and owners. New developments however, aim to turn rooftop gardens into a business model as well, especially for the food market. Grocery stores that aim to use rooftop gardens for food sources could be an emerging trend for the food industry. With rooftop gardens, grocery stores can help sell organic food, reap urban agricultural benefits, and prove that sustainability has market value.
As of right now, this type of sustainable business model has been implemented by Whole Foods Market, a supermarket chain with stores in the US, Canada, and the UK. In 2013, Whole Foods Market opened a whole new store in Lynnfield, MA with a rooftop greenhouse, which provides organic food for customers. Around 17,000 square feet, this greenhouse will reduce the reliance on outside resources, reducing transportation costs and chemical emissions. In addition, it has the ability to bring the concept of organic food to more people, and hopefully foster increased interest and support among the entire population. The greenhouse will also reduce the need for energy costs, due to insulation. The rooftop garden also counts as a green roof, which are roofs that provide environmental and economic benefits through their sustainable design. This aspect is also appealing to future implementers, due to its cost savings. Provided that implementation of the rooftop garden is aimed to maximize sustainable benefits, they have additional benefits aside from business. With rooftop gardens, grocery stores can also implement green roofs in order to cut down on costs used to pay for energy and water resources.