Graduate Project


The Rebirth of Direct Farm Marketing and the Rethinking of Food Safety Regulation: A View from the Ground in Oregon Public Deposited

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  • Consumers are increasingly turning to farm direct foods for personal reasons, such as fresh and healthy food, and for public reasons, such as supporting local and rural economies and reducing the environmental impact of their food choices. As a result, farmers’ markets and other direct farm marketing has increased substantially in recent years despite current laws and regulations regarding food processing and sales to the public. Government regulation is justified in conventional food markets due to the high costs of food borne illness and the “market for lemons” that results from incomplete information regarding the safety of food. On the other hand, government regulation of direct farm marketing of food is more difficult to justify due to (1) the lower risk of food borne illness and higher cost of regulation; (2) the presence of trustworthiness and redressibility inherent in direct farm marketing transactions that provide adequate information for consumers to make informed choices about their exposure to food risk; and (3) the policy choice to lift barriers to entry for small local farm direct marketing and generating accompanying public goods. Oregon’s Direct Farm Marketing Bill, currently in the state legislature, clarifies Oregon law on the regulation of direct farm marketing venues and eases regulation of some low-risk types of small-scale food processing for direct farm marketers using economically and politically justifiable means.
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