Rebuilding Local Economies Through Networks of Small Farmers 2012

Locations: Australia and USA. Topics: Food Hubs. Resource Type: Academic Article/Report.
Full report from Elaine Bradley’s Churchill scholarship, which was an investigation of rural communities in the USA that have rebuilt local economies by supporting networks of small farmers working together.

Summary of conclusions:

  • The major lesson was that successful, economically viable small farms can’t operate in isolation. “The more tangled the web, the stronger the organism”
  • For a small farm to remain viable, it needs to develop strategies for resilience. These are diversity of produce, diversity of markets, adopting a systems approach.
  • State of the art record-keeping and analysis of operations are essential to success.
  • Farm business planning is essential, but developing a financial assessment tool for the farm business is critical.
  • Persistent effort is needed to maintain and increase the consumer demand for locally produced food. With other stakeholders in the food supply chain doing this role, farms have more time to concentrate on production logistics.
  • The importance of ensuring convenience and ease of access to locally grown food.
  • Professionalism at all levels is needed for success to happen.