Those of us committed to buying from local farmers feel like we’re having a positive impact on our communities. Now it’s a little easier to quantify that impact, thanks to two recent studies — one national, another local.
According to an article posted today on www.msnbc (“USDA: ‘Locally grown’ food a $4.8 billion business”), food sold either directly to local consumers or to local groceries, restaurants and other “intermediaries,” garnered $4.8 billion in revenue in 2008. The USDA predicts that local food sales will reach $7 billion this year. That growth apparently represents an increase in both farm-to-institution and direct-to-consumer sales. In the latter area, 136,000 farms now sell directly, vs. 86,000 in the early 1990s. And there are now 5,274 farmers markets, up from 2,756 in 1998. – Read more