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By Nick Leiber and John Tozzi
Some dismiss the local food movement as a passing fad. The authors of a new report, Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in a Global Marketplace, disagree. They argue that locally owned businesses, whether they are small or big, or whether their focus is local or global markets, are thriving—and are more critical to an economy's well-being than most economic developers appreciate. The report offers 24 case studies of community food enterprises with a variety of business models that were capable of achieving a positive cash flow. It purposely does not include nonprofit projects that, by design, are perpetually dependent on grants and government subsidies. The report's authors were interested only in self-financing businesses, whether for-profit or nonprofit, that could plausibly expand local economies through the marketplace. For snapshots of each of the Community Food Enterprise's case studies, flip through this slide show.