Local Farmers and Food Distribution in North Carolina: A Three-Pronged Approach in Support of the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems (SENCFS) Program
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Local food production has the potential to decrease environmental impacts of the modern globalized food system, stimulate local economic development and strengthen communities. To enhance SENCFS’s ability to foster such economic and community development through a regional food system, our team examined key barriers encountered by farmers and institutions to engage in a regional food system. First, we surveyed farmers and examined the current certification process to identify the main barriers small, limited-resource farmers face in acquiring the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. We recommend that SENCFS provide informational guidance and resources to small farmers throughout the entire GAP process. Second, to advance successful farm to school programs, we interviewed area Child Nutrition Directors to identify barriers between farmers and schools and reviewed successful programs around the country. Given these barriers, we recommend that SENCFS provide informational guidance to Child Nutrition Directors and focus lobbying efforts on increased federal and state funding for local produce purchases. Lastly, as a possible recruitment tool for food service companies operating in the area, we used Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to quantitatively compare environmental impacts of sourcing options for sweet potatoes. The results of the LCA demonstrate the vast potential a local food system has to assist Food Service Companies meet their stated social and environmental goals when conservation agriculture is supported.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
life cycle assessment
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
farm to school
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