||Earth’s natural resources are undeniably finite. As such, it is increasingly important
to recognize how humans manage these fleeting supplies as they seek to balance exponential
population growth with sustainable human and environmental health. A truly enduring
solution must be socially desirable, economically feasible and ecologically viable.
For agricultural matters, food scarcity and extreme environmental variability makes
obtaining these three essential components even more challenging.
A considerable number of materials have been prepared ranging from “how to” booklets
for local farmers to highly quantitative economic analyses of the United States food
system. Despite this great abundance of resources, few people have taken on the daunting
challenge of integrating these materials into effectual public policy. This report
examines the economic and sociopolitical factors that must be overcome for local agricultural
to be a truly sustainable solution to a slough of environmental problems.
Local farmers are typically more intimately tied to environmental issues, and are
thus more willing to adopt sustainable practices. Academics and professionals alike
recognize the extreme hardships of transforming American agricultural policies. Nonetheless,
a few comparatively simple measures can be taken to spur local farming initiatives.
Overcoming the present barriers will require educational efforts, political reform
and a fundamental shift in the current market paradigm. Each of these components
can be driven by well-designed, clear and appropriate legislation. This document
shows that a reasonable public policy must work to shift funding to sustain small
farmers, provide incentives for businesses to support local farming initiatives, standardize
food labels and publicize the benefits of buying local products in order to secure
Earth’s natural resources and ensure community stability.