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Merrigan releases AMS report on local food distribution

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today released a report on the practices of eight producer networks and their partners distributing locally or regionally-grown food to retail and foodservice customers.

The report, entitled “Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution,” details how these organizations help local and regional producers overcome bottlenecks in the food marketing system through collaborative and transparent planning and adherence to a shared set of operating principles, USDA said in a news release.

The report is intended as a resource for producers, food processors and marketers organizing to supply local and regional food products to commercial customers.

To compile the report, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service studied each of the eight network models over a three-year period. The eight models were La Montanita (New Mexico), Oklahoma Food Co-op (Oklahoma City, Okla.), The Wedge Coop (Minneapolis), Red Tomato (Boston), Community Alliance with Family Farmers (Davis, Calif.), New North Florida Cooperative (Marianna, Fla.), Appalachian Sustainable Development (Abingdon, Va.) and Minnesota Food Association (Marine on St Croix, Minn.).

AMS looked at network organization, product branding and labeling, infrastructure management, and price negotiation.