The Farmplate Blog

Local Food Market Near $5 Billion in 2008, Expected to Top $7 Billion This Year

Jeff Gangemi Nov 16, 2011 News 0 comments

New analysis by the USDA says the local food market is bigger than previously expected — $4.8 billion in 2008. That includes “sales to intermediaries, such as local grocers and restaurants, as well as directly to consumers through farmers markets, roadside stands and the like."

The real story, though, is the continued growth expected to achieve. Between 1998 and 2009, the number of farmers’ markets doubled, and growth in total sales of local food is expected to top $7 billion this year, a 46% increase between 2008 and 2011.

The bulk of the new sales came from supermarkets and restaurants, and the USDA analysis didn’t include sales to schools and other institutions. Take a look at this Associated Press story for more analysis of this USDA study and its implications for the local food movement... 

“Carolyn Anderson likes to chat up the growers at her local farmers market in Missouri, at times hanging out behind the beds of pickup trucks brimming with ears of corn.

For Anderson, 29, it’s all about keeping it 'local.' And there’s fresh evidence of just how big of a deal that word can mean for farmers’ finances.

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of 'local foods,' whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. That’s a number several times greater than earlier estimates…”

Read more here >