What does localism mean for farmers?

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There’s a word that’s coming up a lot lately in regards to dealing with how covi19 pandemic affects the farming industry. It’s not new for those who care about sustainable farming, but it may be for the general public.

The world is localism. There are those who say that localism is the way of the future for farming food systems in general and there’s a case to be made that they are right. As is often the case, one change won’t be enough but it’s a good place to start.

What is it?

The first thing to deal with is the definition itself. That’s always a tricky question to answer since it can mean different things to different people but for small time farmers localism is mostly about knowing where your food comes from and where does the labor and the resource needed for it do.

That can’t always be accomplished to its entirety since farming is a complicated and complex work and you may end up going beyond your local community for resources. However, it should have been the goal to strive for.

Less things to go wrong

There are fewer things to go wrong with localized farms. That means that there’s less chance for the system as a whole to break down due to the problem with one of its parts. The pandemic has shown that a problem with distribution happening across the world can have a damaging impact on the consumer right here at home.

Having less moving parts involved in the machinery of providing food means that you can fix problems faster when they arise and that you can avoid them in a lot of instances as well. It’s important to have in mind that no system is fault proof.

Less carbon footprint

The carbon footprint added by agricultural industry isn’t always about food production. In a lot of cases it’s about delivering food and the resources needed for agricultural production from one place to another. This is reduced when the farms are run and supplied locally and sometimes it’s reduced to bare essentials.

This can also lead to having a somewhat reduced choice as to what kind of vegetable and produce you can buy. This isn’t the way we’re used to and it will take some time until it becomes the new normal.

Branding

Branding is a different type of endeavor for local farmers in comparison to large companies. That’s because most of your branding efforts should be focused on the community and becoming a part of it. This takes time and can’t be done as aggressively as is the case with most businesses.

There are advantages and disadvantages of being branded as local community oriented business. First of all, it’s a friendlier environment and one that doesn’t require that much funding to penetrate. On the other hand, building a reputation within a local community takes a longer time.

The governmental role

An important facet of all this is how the government will respond to the move towards localism in farming. The government isn’t really made for local initiatives, but for broad and sweeping action. At this point there are actions made by the government oriented towards farm but few or none of it will go towards local farms and farming markets.

Some of this aid is in a form of a tax cut and some is in direct help towards the farmer. It’s mostly seen as something not suited for small farms since their work isn’t disrupted as much as others are. It’s a mistake and one that needs to be fixed in due time.

The future

There will be a change in how our food is produced and delivered. It will take a change on the part of the consumer, businesses, and the infrastructure. It’s not easy to say what those changes will entail. A part of that is localism but that can’t be the only approach to take.

That’s why the localism should be on your mind but only as a part of the bigger picture that will strive towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture, that’s better for the small businesses in the industry.

Conclusion

Localism is the term that’s often used to describe the practice that will improve agriculture and food systems, especially in these difficult times. It’s about making sure that your produce and your food in general is sourced locally. This is better both for the environment and the stability of the food delivery system.

This isn’t to say that localism is the only thing to do to improve the environment and to create sustainable practices. However, it’s a start and it’s also helpful in cases such as the disruption we’re seeing now due to the covid19 epidemic.

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