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Opportunity stages along the local food cycle

People often think of local food systems as a linear path leading from the farm to the table: farms produce food, factories process the food, trucks distribute the food, consumers purchase the food at grocery stores or restaurants, and then the food gets consumed!  The local food system, however, is a continuous cycle, in which we are all linked in multiple ways: each of us impacts or is impacted by several aspects of the system therefore creating opportunities. By acknowledging these linkages and exploring opportunities within the cycle at the local and regional level, we can begin to see a host of possible outcomes that could enhance the lives of community members.

Secure Food Economy

In order for a vibrant local food system to create these opportunities requires deliberate, collaborative efforts between consumers, decision makers and food producers in a community/region. Such work leads to economies where sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance social, environmental and economic security.
For the case of Oklahoma, having a secure food economy means: There is adequate infrastructure and resources (such as grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants) to guarantee access to healthy food for all Oklahomans. Food is available in sufficient quantity, quality and variety to ensure healthy growth, development and productivity of all Oklahomans. Local food production is supported through community organizations, advocacy and state policies.

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