A short food supply chain is created when producers and final consumers realize they share the same goals, which can be achieved by creating new opportunities that strengthen local food networks. It is an alternative strategy enabling producers to regain an active role in the food system, as it focuses on local production - decentralized regional food systems that minimize the number of steps involved and the distance traveled by food (food miles).
This enables small-scale enterprises to establish food supply chains that are ‘independent' of the wider system. By cutting out some of the intermediary stages between producers and consumers - such as wholesale and distribution - we can rediscover our local area and essential parts of its identity, as well as forge a new relationship between the agricultural and urban worlds.
A short supply chain also makes it easier to achieve a fair price, as consumers can understand the ‘real' costs of agriculture and food production. In addition, the often-high costs charged by distributors can now be split fairly between producers and consumers, allowing producers to receive a dignified income for their work, and for consumers to pay less and know exactly what they are paying for.
Producer markets are an important feature of short supply chains, along with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) schemes and direct farm/producer sales.
A short supply chain is a vital element in building healthy local economies.