Friday, June 05, 2009

Buying Food Locally Helps Grow the Economy

Downtown Des Moines Farmers MarketImage by DopT via Flickr

An agriculture expert spoke at Marshalltown Community College about the benefits of buying food locally.

Ken Meter, President of Crossroads Resource Center based in Minnesota completed a study of food production in Marshall County. He discussed the potential economic benefits for the county of buying more food locally.

He noted that, according to numbers from the U.S. Census, which may not be totally accurate, only 46 farms sell directly to consumers in the county. Further, there are only 13 fruit orchards covering 25 total acres, and 13 vegetable farms covering only 43 acres.

Meter said there were some encouraging signs, such as the number of farms now selling directly to consumers increasing 35 percent in the past few years. Sales have increased 16 percent to approximately $228,000.

"It's a rising force and because it's a rising force, some efforts to cultivate that and let it occur seem appropriate," he said.

Still, Meter's research indicated Marshall County residents spend approximately $104 million each year on food. Nearly 90 percent of that is spent on things produced outside the area.

Finding ways to encourage direct interaction between producers and consumers will not only help locally by keeping more dollars in the community and creating jobs locally, it will help in other ways as well.

Stop by your local farmer's market over the weekend and enjoy some fresh food and help your local economy.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: