“Our belief that we can create a sustainable diet for ourselves by cherry-picking great ingredients is wrong. Because it is too narrow minded. We can’t think about changing parts of our system. We need to think about redesigning the system.”
- Dan Barber
A DEMAND DRIVEN FOCUS
Food21's CENTER FOR VALUE CHAIN DEVELOPMENT designs and coordinates regional and local food value chains that build value and sustainability for all stakeholders whose well-being hinges on a viable regional food system. Successful food value chains add measurable benefits to each stage of the production, marketing and consumption processes. The primary stakeholders in food value chains include input suppliers, farmers, processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.
BENEFITS: Food21 operates demand-driven, local food value chains built on the premise of producing measurable benefits for all participants, reducing their risk, and increasing the certainty of their success. Food21's approach is able to simultaneously meet the needs of consumers and respond to market forces. Costs are controlled. Jobs are created. Communities benefit from the collaboration these value chains create.
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Seed sources are a critical first step in all agricultural food value chains. The importance of seed provisioning in food security and nutrition, agricultural development and rural livelihoods, and agro-biodiversity and germ-plasm conservation is well accepted by policy makers, practitioners and researchers.
Because of how grain seeds are licensed and sold in the United States, farmers almost never know what they are paying up front and fall victim to rising costs because the market is dominated by massive companies such as Monsanto-Bayer and DowDuPont. Alternative local seed networks are starting to appear to provide more options for local farmers.
Most food products are either produced directly on farms or based on products derived from farms. Farmers play an important role as the first link in the food value chain. Despite various challenges, farmers do their best to respond to a dual responsibility sustaining a supply of primary agricultural products at affordable prices and minimizing the impact on the environment.
Sustainable, environmentally friendly production methods are increasingly expected and even demanded from farmers. New and improved farming methods are always being developed as well as finding natural ways to enhance and improve crop development.
Food processing, the necessary conversion of raw materials to edible, functional, and culturally acceptable food products, is an important link between production and consumption within the food value chain.
Food processing is taking a raw product and turning it into an ingredient, like turning vanilla beans into vanilla extract, whereas food manufacturers purchase ingredients made by processors and use them within a product, like taking the vanilla extract and using it to make cookies.
A food manufacturer is a business engaged in making food from one or more ingredients, or synthesizing, preparing, treating, modifying or manipulating food, including food crops or ingredients.
In the food production process, steps are taken to extend the shelf life of food, to increase the variety in the diet and/or to provide the nutrients required for health.
Workers in the food manufacturing industry link farmers and other agricultural producers with consumers. They do this by processing raw fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and dairy products into finished goods ready for the grocer or wholesaler to sell to households, restaurants, or institutional food services.
Food distributors purchase products from a manufacturer or from another distributor and sell and distribute the products to retailers, food- service companies, and other distributors. Food distributors handle transporting and storing food as it travels from manufacturers to food service operators. Some distributors specialize in certain food products such as seafood or fruits and vegetables. Some food distributors will also market and sell the products they are distributing.
Distributors play a vital role in keeping the lines between manufacturers and users operating smoothly. They can expedite response times, enhance a company's reach and even create value-added packages.
Food retailers are places that consumers can buy food and take it off-site, compared to restaurants where food is consumed on-site.
Retailers include the major supermarkets and smaller independent traders selling directly to final consumers, closely following and adjusting to their needs and tastes.
A customer is an individual or business that purchases another company's goods or services. Customers are important because they drive revenues; without them, businesses cannot continue to exist.
Consumers play an important role in the creation of the value chain. The consumer is the key figure in the supply chain and their needs and opinions will affect the supplier's decisions. In a demand-driven value chain, the consumer is the primary source for identifying the needs, desires, and priorities of the marketplace.