ISU research tracks economic impact of local food sales
November 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson
Sales of locally-grown food accounted for at least nine-million dollars in economic activity in Iowa last year according to a new report. Researchers at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University tracked “institutional purchases” of locally-grown food by grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and schools. The researchers say this is the first attempt to try to measure the economic impact of regional food systems in Iowa.
Their work went beyond the traditional concept of a grower selling to a consumer at a farmers’ market to track sales between growers and businesses. Restaurants, grocery stores and other bulk purchasers reported buying nearly nine million dollars worth of locally-raised food products. On average, local food purchases accounted for a little less than nine percent of an institution’s overall food budget.