Check out the initial results on the economic impact analysis we have performed.  Local food systems in our study areas show there is a positive impact.  We presented this information on a poster at the annual meetings of the Rural Sociological Society meetings in New Orleans, LA in July.   See more information below or look at our Economic Impact Analysis Page at

Poster Economic Impacts of Local Food Systems in the Rural Midwest

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September 25, 2014 · 9:59 pm

Lincoln, NE Haymarket Farmers’ Market Focus Group

We are looking for people who regularly shop at the Haymarket Farmers’ Market to participate in a series of focus groups.  Sign up securely through the link to the right —>

The goal of the focus groups is to better understand the challenges and outlooks of local food shoppers and why shoppers choose to buy direct from farmers at farmers’ markets or through CSAs. These focus groups are a part of a larger USDA-grant-funded project that in part aims to better understand the motivations, challenges and preferences of consumer food purchases.

Each participant will receive $25 for talking to us about local foods for an hour and a half!

  •  Saturday, August 9th at the Embassy Suites, 1040 P Street, Lincoln, NE – 10:30 – Noon 

Register to participate in a focus group by contacting Jessica Scott, extension research associate, toll free at 855-270-0742 or ScottJR@missouri.edu. Participants may also register securely using the link in the upper right part of this page —>

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Grocery Shopper Focus Groups

We successfully wrapped up focus groups in the Northern Ozarks and Old Trails regions of Missouri -

  • Rolla  – Done!  Fantastic Group.  Thank you all for coming!
  • Salem  – Done!  Great Discussion.  Couldn’t get these done without your input!
  • Houston – Done!  We had a great time in Houston.  Thank you all for coming and giving such good input!
  • Higginsville - Done! Super group and discussion! Thank you all!
  • Marshall – Done!  Thank you for coming!
  • Carrollton – Done!  Great feedback!

Thank you to all participants who have made our project a success thus far.

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Project Summary

Local/regional food systems are a promising entrepreneurial solution for rural development and may enhance the prosperity of at-risk small and medium sized farms and improve the health and well-being of consumers. Our bi-state research project examines these questions: What are the impacts of local/regional food systems on rural communities? How do they impact the prosperity of small and medium-sized farms? Are consumers in both rural and urban areas likely to participate?

The long-term goal of this project is to fully realize the potential of regional food systems as a strategy for rural development. The objectives are:

- To develop research-based profiles of small and medium sized farmers who market their products in local/regional food systems.
– To calibrate an economic impact model that enables researchers to quantify farm profitability and local economic impact that come from regional food sales.
– To specify the factors differentiating food buyers in rural and urban areas, and those buying directly from farmers from those who do not.
– To examine the opportunities and challenges for linking farmers (producers) and consumers together in local/regional food systems.

This project has three parts.

1. Producer Survey – Done.  We have posted a summary of findings (LFL Producer Summary) and are working on additional statistical analysis of our data.

2. Input/Output Interviews – Done.  Data is currently being sorted and Producer Profiles are being created.

3. Consumer Focus Groups – We will be starting the Focus Groups up again soon, we are currently setting dates and locations.  Focus groups will be held with conventional grocery shoppers in the Northern Ozarks, Old Trails, Southeast Nebraska, and Kansas City in April and May.  A focus group will be held in the Old Trails region with local food shoppers in July.

Our research is taking place in three areas in Missouri and Nebraska: Northern Ozarks, Old Trails Region, and Southeast Nebraska.  The producer survey wrapped up  in April, 2012.  We had almost a 50% response rate.  Thank you so much, producers, for your interest and participation!  We are analyzing the data you’ve submitted and will have some summary reports completed by the end of the year.

We are currently holding focus groups of consumers because we want to know:

  • What information is important to you in making food-purchasing decisions?
  • Do any factors limit your ability to obtain locally produced food?
  • Do you see any advantages associated with locally produced food?

We have and will be visiting local farmers’ markets and retail stores in our areas of interest to recruit focus group participants.  Focus groups are held on weekday evenings, are approximately 1.5 hours in length and participants receive $25 for participating.  If you are interested in participating, please sign up on-line via the the link on the right side of this page or call Jessica Scott toll free at (855) 270-0742.

This project is funded by USDA Agriculture Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-67023-30084 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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