Farm-to-School Programs’ Local Foods Activity in Southern Arizona
Local Foods Foolkit Applications and Lessons
This analysis applies principles and methods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Local Foods Toolkit to demonstrate the moderating influence of countervailing effects on the economic impacts of local food purchases through farm-to-school programs in Southern Arizona using USDA Farm to School Census data. The analysis applies and expands upon recommendations in the Toolkit, introducing the concept of export substitution and exploring how water resource constraints create tradeoffs for farms through crop-shifting and cropping rotations. The analysis reveals that for fruit and vegetable exporting regions, export substitution can be a major countervailing effect. Furthermore, the analysis examines the usefulness of the Farm to School Census as a secondary data source for estimating the economic impacts of local food activities, allowing us to make recommendations for how the Census could be expanded and supplemented for regional economic applications.
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