The San Mateo County Local Food Feasibility report (2014) contains the results of a broad-spectrum inquiry to discover opportunities that support a thriving, locally-based food system in San Mateo County, California. Research was conducted during 2013 to identify feasible market-based strategies that could enable economically viable livelihoods for food producers and increase accessibility for consumers wishing to purchase locally grown food. The report highlights the challenges of local food production, distribution, marketing, and purchasing, revealing insights into the range of complexities in a local food system.
“In the world of food and farming systems, the problems are always complex and the players and interests are diverse. Making change in such an environment requires patience and skilled facilitation to bring groups together for collaborative action. Ag Innovations has been doing just that for many years and they do it very effectively.”
Focusing on San Mateo County’s land-based agriculture, livestock, and fishing industries, this study explored opportunities and constraints for three priority areas: 1) establishing new institutional markets for producers, 2) increasing access to local food for all San Mateo County communities, and 3) enhancing recognition and adoption of San Mateo County’s As Fresh As It Gets local-food marketing brand. In consideration of the characteristics, challenges, and opportunities for these three priority areas, the research time compiled target strategies for improved local food distribution and marketing:
- Increase collaboration
- Elevate local branding
- Enhance diversity of produce production
- Support independently operated service facilities