Maximizing Freight Movements in Local Food Markets

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
December 2010
March 2011
Research Brief Final Report

Primary Investigators

Bob Gollnik
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1415 Engineering Drive, Room 2205
Madison, WI 53706

Michelle Miller
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1535 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706


The past several years have seen a rising interest in all things sustainable, from energy efficient homes and vehicles, to alternative energy sources, to increasing focus on recyclable and renewable material usage. This trend has also been accompanied by an increased examination by consumers of where our goods come from and how they reach us. Decades of globalization have drastically altered supply chains. Along with consumer goods, the distance in which food travels to reach its markets has grown exponentially. This research will identify how the local food supply and distribution system functions in Upper Midwest States and means by which local food transportation movements can become more efficient.


This research will not attempt to depict the local food movement as an environmentally, morally, or ethically superior or inferior option, but rather will accept that the movement is growing in popularity and has a great deal of room for improvement in it’s utilization of the freight transportation system.


  1. Literature review of recent related research.
  2. Compilation of lower and mid-level producers in the focus region.
    • Interviews
    • Data collection
    • Characterization of the supply chain for ‘specialized produce’ sector
    • Key commodity groups
    • Key customer groups/segments
    • Typical distribution radius and patterns
    • Industry outlook
    • Role of freight
  3. Devise a tool or suite of tools in order to encourage consolidation of shipments.
    • Evaluate feasibility of online system for communication.
    • Evaluate feasibility of incorporating ArcLogistics into regional fruit and vegetable supply chain.
  4. Application of tools as a case study
  5. Findings and recommendations.
  6. Policy implications/ How can public agencies become involved?

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: August 1, 2010 – July 31, 2011
  • Budget: $70,000
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and one undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail, Air, Maritime
  • Project ID: CFIRE 04-23
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