15 Nov '11, 5pm

Local Food Sales Likely to Reach $7 Billion This Year

"There have been a lot of questions in the past if promoting local foods is even worth it," says Sarah Low, an economist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, who was co-author of the study. But these numbers, she tells The Salt, "suggest that there could be a lot more room to increase demand."Indeed, the lion's share — $2.7 to $3.8 billion — came from farmers selling food through channels like restaurants and grocery stores. It was the first time the USDA has included those sales in surveying local food markets. The restaurant and store markets are attracting bigger farmers who have too much produce to efficiently sell direct to consumers, Low says. "Forty percent of all fruit and vegetable producers are now selling locally," she added. And even though her numbers don't explicitly track growth, "that to me suggests some growth."

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/local-food-sales-7-b...

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