Incentivizing local food production and consumption
Improving local food production and distribution models is key for environmental sustainability, community heath and a thriving, local agricultural industry. How do we build a system of positive behavioral incentives that encourage local, healthy eating habits?
The modern agribusiness sector is a major source of environmental pollution, deforestation and wasteful government subsidies. According to a recent article from Scientific American, agriculture is responsible for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Agribusiness farming operations are notorious for nitrogen and phosphorus runoff (particularly from poultry and hog farms) that have created "dead zones" around the world. Additionally, heavily subsidized corn and soy feed to livestock contribute to massive deforestation in the developing world.
How can we improve local food production and distribution?
We need to create better incentives for smaller farms and sources of local food production at the local level. How can we (1) better educate mainstream consumers about where their food comes from? (2) Create a renewed sense of pride in local agriculture (3) Create better economic and/or social incentives throughout the supply chain to motivate consumers to support local food sources (4) strengthen the concept of systems thinking around food product in illustrating the landscape of environmental, social, and policy factors together?