Poverty, Public Health and Local Foods: Steven C. Deller, Laura Brown and Amber Canto
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Paper No. 572, February 2014, 38p.
In this exploratory analysis we explore the interplay between poverty, public health and access to local foods using data for U.S. counties. We ask one simple question: Does access to local foods dampen or mitigate the relationship between poverty and health? As expected we find a strong relationship between poverty and public health and we also find that access to higher levels of local foods activity is associated with higher levels of public health. The interaction between poverty and local foods, however, suggests that higher concentrations of both are associated with poorer, not better health. From a global perspective we find that the presence of local foods related activity tends to have a positive impact on health, but that relationship is not consistent across the United States. Our results suggest that the interplay between local foods, poverty and health is subtle and the resulting policy implications may make sense in some parts of the United States but not in others.
Local Foods and Community Health: An Exploratory Analysis: Steven C. Deller, Laura Brown and Amber Canto
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Paper No. 571, February 2014, 37p.
In this exploratory analysis we look for patterns in the relationship between local foods and community health using U.S. nonmetropolitan counties. We take an ecological approach using 2007 Census of Agriculture and “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps” data collected by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute program at the U.S. county level. In addition to the central question (are higher concentrations of characteristics of local food systems associated with healthier communities) we address the question of health modeling uncertainty by use a Spatial Bayesian Model Averaging (SBMA). As expected, our findings indicate that higher levels of activities associated with local foods are generally associated with higher levels of community health. Two problems with the analysis are (1) challenges around definitions and measurement of local foods and (2) direction of causation is unclear.
Local Foods and Rural Economic Growth: Steven C. Deller, Laura Brown, Anna Haines and Randy Fortenbery
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Paper No. 570, February 2014, 30p.
In this paper we explore the impact of local foods on economic growth using a Barro-type framework. We address model uncertainty by using a Spatial Bayesian Model Averaging (SMBA) approach and check for robustness of results on local foods by employing several metrics of local foods. Results suggest that higher levels of local foods weakly lead to lower levels of income growth. The results are not robust implying that our thinking about how to define and quantify local foods needs further attention.