Legal Instruments to Support Local Food Systems in United States Law
KeywordsUS law, local food systems, direct sales, farmers’ markets, urban agriculture, community-supported agriculture
The study aims to determine what instruments supporting local food systems (LFS) are implemented in US law. To achieve this goal, the most important regulations supporting LFS, issued at federal, state, and local levels, drawn from various fields, were analysed, including food safety law, zoning law, tax law, and federal programs. The provisions are discussed in relation to the key elements of LFS: direct marketing, farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture, urban agriculture, and agritourism. The study shows that US law lacks a systematic approach to legal support for LFS. However, important legislative tools supporting LFS can be identified. These include exemptions from certain food safety requirements for direct farm marketing, a food sales tax exemption established by certain states, relevant local zoning laws encouraging urban agriculture and farmers’ markets, as well as local laws on public procurement prioritizing local food. The most visible support, designed specifically for LFS, are federal programs offering financial grants.
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