Post Carbon Fellow Michael Shuman was interviewed on the Civil Eats website about his new report Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in A Global Marketplace. The report is the result of a partnership between the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.
From the article:
Recently, I talked to Michael about what why community food enterprises (CFEs) are so important, and why local food advocates should pay attention.
WW: Why does local ownership of food business matter? What’s wrong with a world where Walmarts just source locally?
MS: One of the prevailing misunderstandings around local food is that it is just about proximity — where food is grown and processed in relation to the location of the consumer. Our CFE study suggests that an equally important part of local food systems is the ownership of the businesses. There is a growing body of evidence that locally owned food businesses generate substantially more income, wealth, jobs, taxes, and charitable contributions for their communities and for the marketplace than do non locally owned players like Walmart, even if those big companies are sourcing locally.
WW: Why is this the case?
MS: The basic reason is that local businesses spend more of their money locally and therefore pump up the local economic multiplier, which is the cornerstone of economic development.