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.