A full discussion of food will include the social-political and cultural aspects of the environment in which the food will be cultivated, harvested, prepared, and eaten. If our society and culture in general is messed up, our food’s quality will not escape unaffected. It is good for us to then to examine our current system, and the centralization that accompanies it.
Local food is all about knowledge of food and reduction of transportation costs. Farms that primarily sell locally will often be small farms. Small-scale farmers may choose not to USDA-certify their crop, but they will usually tell the customer how they grew the plants or animals.
The FDA is emboldened by passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act. We are just starting to reap the consequences.