Buying and selling food and drink

There are a wide variety of venues for the buying and selling of food and beverages. They reach from the personal garden stand to massive food floors or international wholesaling operations.  In today’s highly urbanized culture, the majority of us do not do the weekly or monthly shop – we tend to shop every day or so – and therefore it is important to have as many venues for purchasing food as possible.

Economies of scale tend to push the wholesaling and retailing sector into larger floorplates with greater choice and lower prices and large centralized purchasing, storage and distribution systems.  The supply chain for these stores tends also to favour larger industrial producers who can guarantee supply and quality of food stuffs.  These provide us all with more choice of food at the lowest prices in history today.

costco 2

Because of the global nature of the buying and selling of food today, much of the money in the system is also circulating globally.  Therefore, it is wise for communities to support smaller local food producers and sellers where possible, as the local economic multiplier effect is larger and sometimes the environmental impact can be less.

victoria public market

The “local food” movement of recent years has increased the interest and demand for farmer-direct sales (eg: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)), farmers markets, local artisan producers, and other smaller scale niche retailers.

Quist meat market

An Agriculture Urbanism project will endeavour to have the widest range of feasible food retail available in every neighbourhood in order to ensure convenient access to food and to support local food-related businesses and employment.

Below are some resources on food wholesale and retail.

Food sales general

Food wholesale

Food retail

farmers market

Farmers markets

  • University of Florida guidelines – This site has a range of accessible principles and guidelines for starting a farmer’s market.
  • University of Missouri – This site is from the U of Missouri and has a simple and comprehensive summary of starting a farmers’ market and issues to consider.

Farm gate and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

  • Local Harvest – This site is a good summary of the basics of CSAs – as well as a lot of other food system information. 

Small scale food enterprises