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USDA: Strong Demand For “Local” Food, Number Of Farmer’s Markets Doubles

May 17, 2010: 07:00 AM EST
A USDA economic research report surveying available literature on local food systems says that direct-to-consumer sales of local food continues to grow, with most small farmers based near metropolitan areas in the Northeast and West Coast. Between 1998 and 2009, the number of local farmer’s markets nearly doubled from 2,756 to 5,274 – supporting available data showing that consumers are willing to pay more for the perceived benefits of locally grown food. However, the USDA reports that there remains no consensus among companies, consumers and local food markets about the definition of the term “local” itself with respect to the geographic distance between production and consumption.
Steve Martinez, Michael Hand, Michelle Da Pra, Susan Pollack, Katherine Ralston, Travis Smith, Stephen Vogel, Shellye Clark, Luanne Lohr, Sarah Low, and Constance Newman , "Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues", Economic Research Service, USDA, May 17, 2010, © USDA
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