According to the USDA, local food sales in America have nearly doubled in recent years, jumping from $5 billion in 2008 to $11.7 billion in 2014. Indeed, local food is a national phenomenon that exhibits enormous market potential. Based on a survey conducted by Cowen and Company, about 40% of U.S. consumers ranked “where food comes from” as either very or extremely important. In order to meet the demand, grocery stores have added a variety of local food suppliers. Community Supported Agriculture, which allows city residents direct access to fresh produce grown by regional farmers, has rapidly expanded.
So why eat local?
Local food is more nutritious. Vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, kale, and tomatoes are susceptible to nutrient loss when harvested and transported from long distance. Food that is grown locally is also given more time to ripen and is full of flavors.
Local food benefits the environment. Local food doesn’t have to travel as far, so it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to Food Policy, the miles that organic food travels often creates serious environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic.
Local food supports communities. On average, farmers only receive 20 cents of each food dollar spent due to high cost of transportation and packaging. However, famers receive the direct profits when we purchase local food. Also, building a relationship with farmers is so fun, as you get to learn all about your food!
Ithaca Dining Services provides many locally-sourced foods, within a 250-mile radius from New York State. Ithaca Dining Services has a relationship with Chobani, Ithaca Hummus, Byrne Dairy, Ithaca Bakery, Red Jacket Orchards, to name a few. Eat local, eat fresh!