Red and Yellow Peppers Rice Field Cheese Wheels Chard Crop in Baskets for Sale Yellow Tomatoes
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Local Food

Crossroads Resource Center is a pioneer in the “Local Foods” movement (see history, below). We provide a variety of local foods services to communities; see our Services page.

History of CRC’s Local Foods Work

Crossroads’ Ken Meter started strategizing for community-based foods in 1974, as part of a citizen’s group that was concerned about equity in the food system. He worked on an organic dairy farm in 1979, where he picked up the fundamental economic insights that propelled his career. Ken’s first story documenting how much food Minnesota imports (PDF Icon Who Produces Minnesota’s Food?) was published in 1981. He advocated for a farm policy based on communities rather than commodities (PDF Icon Writing Farm Policy) in 1986.

Then, in 2001, the Community Design Center and the Experiment in Rural Cooperation commissioned Ken and graduate student assistant Jon Rosales to produce a study of the farm and food economy of Southeast Minnesota. That report, PDF Icon “Finding Food in Farm Country,” helped a local food network attract new members and strengthen its sales. The report won statewide media notice—and also drew national attention. Word of mouth passed it to hundreds of local foods initiatives around the U.S. The report was taught in at least 11 university graduate programs.

Since then, Ken has performed local farm and food assessments in 45 regions in 20 states, and in one Canadian province (for details, see Publications: Rural Economic Studies. He speaks across the U.S., averaging one presentation per week for the past three years. He feels privileged to help nurture the rapidly emerging local foods movement.

Along the way, Ken has helped change the way we think about food. He appears to be the first one to use the phrase “farm and food” to distinguish the needs of commodity producers from those farmers who sell foods direct to consumers (January 2001). He was the first to call for a federal “food bill” (July 2006), addressing the entire array of issues from farm to fork. He also was the first to call for federal farm policy to focus on communities rather than commodities (December 2003).


For information about Resource People, Business Strategy, or Community Investment, please contact Ken Meter (kmeter[at] or complete our contact form.

Publications for Free Download

For a complete list of free publications, see our Publications page.

Other Resources

Ackerman, Frank, and Lisa Heinzerling. Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing. The New Press (2005). 278 pages, $25.95. A great critique of cost/benefit analysis, as well as approaches that focus too much on data.

See the food data bases posted at Local Dirt.

See also the Twin Cities Neighborhood Data Warehouse.