Communicating Economic Impact Assessments
How Research Results Influence Decision-maker Attitudes toward the Local Food Sector
The local food sector continues to evolve as consumer preferences for economic, environmental, and social values create markets for a range of products. Although measuring the economic impact of these complex systems can provide new insights, it remains challenging. This paper provides evidence of the effectiveness of presenting economic impact results to decision-makers as a way to increase public-sector interest in developing a small and growing local food system. Surveys of local leaders and statewide service providers indicate that most local decision-makers who were presented with the economic impact results say they are now more supportive of local food system development, especially in rural areas. In this region, both producing the economic impact study and pursuing a strategy for communicating the results of this study have promoted thinking about the potential of local food production in new ways and have informed conversations with policy-makers.
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