The Fresh Produce Supply Chain in the U.S. is considered one of the most diverse in the world. An amazing variety of food products are available in the typical grocery store, The normal count of 280 different fresh fruit and vegetable items are available all year-round, in the summer months the number goes up over 300.
Many of the distributors do so from a great distance both local and foreign. The entire infrastructure of production, transportation and marketing that supports this system is well developed. What is missing is the diversity of source compared to the diversity of actual commodities. This makes it difficult for both fresh organic and fresh local produce suppliers to compete. Most commodities come from less than 10% of the the U.S. Yet, the apparent abundance may mask a lack of diversity in supply sources and can not only threaten supplies, but also threaten the whole pricing structure. .
Though it is a small trend, the demand for local fresh produce is growing. Both fresh organic produce and fresh local produce demand is increasing in demand. For diversity to take place, there will be a need for continued increase in demand to fuel the alternative supplies supply chain of fresh produce. Only through increase demand will the market supply start being filled more with local produce from farmers. As people realize the few points below that are in their favor will things increase significantly.
Fact Sheet EU F&V Export Trade Trends (Author: Freshfel Europe)
Communities throughout the United States are focusing more and more on sustainability planning in the supply of their daily food sources. Realizing that not only health issues are a concern at the top of the list, but availability of products. Since so many products are transported great distance, not only from other states, but from other countries, people are becoming more aware of the situation we may find ourselves in with quick changes in availability of common food supplies.
This has sparked more interest in locally grown foods whether they are Organic or non organic. Over time people have gotten away from storing their own harvest or even u-pick fruits and vegetables to can, dry or freeze. Though the trend has dropped a little each year, in 2001 canning statistics in the USA still show a great number of people using all means to can vegetables. Some statistics from reported in the Wall Street Journal in 2009 from Ball and Kerr canning suppliers, their sales were up 30%. Click here to check out the full article. So, it seems interest are rising.
So not only because of high prices, but people concern for availability, not only community leaders, but individuals are taking it on themselves to research best practices and search out alternative sources, supplies, and storage means to protect their future access to good food supply. What use to be just pocket in the community of health food stores, has now become a more aware populace of consumers who demand higher quality accessibility and security. Price is always important, but it is not the most important. New opportunities are created for local growers and farmers to supply this new demand.
Local Food and Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives in the United States
Not only businesses but Farmers benefit from Focus on Sustainability in their day to day operations. Though at times the investment to make changes in infrustructure can be expensive, many business are seeing savings to go along with the over all sustainability of their business function. From focus on new and specialty crops to focus on new business in the greening of commercial buildings. There are new industries popping up around over all efficiency of business.
Slow over Fast Food
As you look in the news there is a slow wave of industries supporting new technology and and innovation. As you may read more below, from webinars, online forum, and there are many areas of training and education needed to fulfill the demand for turning the corner of sustainability.