How Committed Is Your State to Local Food?June 18th, 2019
Supporting local farms not only supports your local economy, it also allows you to know how your food was produced.
Cornucopia encourages consumers to buy local and organic food whenever possible. Fresh food has a higher nutrient value, tastes better, and can be stored in the refrigerator longer. Our support of the best small farms also helps them remain in business and benefits the local economy.
The 2019 Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index was recently released. Find out how your state stacks up!
Agriculture census data shakes up the Locavore Index; Vermont still on top; California jumps to second place
Strolling of the Heifers
Vermont still ranks at the top of the Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, meaning that it has the strongest producers and consumers of local food of any of the 50 states. But the rest of the Index has been considerably shaken up by new data derived from the recent Census of Agriculture conducted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
The Index has been published annually since 2012 by Strolling of the Heifers, a non-profit food advocacy organization based in Brattleboro, Vermont.
“When we first launched the Index, there was very little data available indicating how much local food was consumed in each state,” said Orly Munzing, founder of Strolling of the Heifers. “We were looking at the numbers of farmers markets and CSAs (consumer-supported agriculture entities) on a per capita basis. It was an indirect measure, a proxy for the real metric, which would be the dollar value of local food produced and sold in each state.”
That information is now finally available. Last month, the USDA published the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which gathers information on the output and business practices of all of the nation’s farms. The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years.
The 2017 Census included two questions about local food:
- The value of food sold by farmers directly to consumers (at farmers markets, farmstands, CSAs and direct online sales). This was first included in the 2012 Census.
- The value of agricultural products sold by farmers directly to local retailers, institutions, and food hubs. This was included in the Ag Census for the first time in 2017.
“Having this information allowed us to revamp the Index completely,” said Martin Langeveld, compiler of the Index. “These two metrics, combined, paint a picture of how much food is produced and sold locally in each state, through all channels. We looked at that on a per-capita basis, and ranked the states accordingly. So the methodology is much simpler, but also much more accurate.”