Local foods movement connects consumers to growers, keeps small farmers on their land | TSLN.com

Local foods movement connects consumers to growers, keeps small farmers on their land

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Consumers who want to know more about where and how their food is raised are creating a bigger voice nationally.

"The increasing sales of local foods provides a bright spot for agriculture and a way to bring young farmers into agricultural production," said Kari O'Neill, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist.

O'Neill referenced a U.S. Department of Agriculture statistic which found more than 160,000 U.S. farmers sold $8.7 billion of local food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions, and local distributors in 2015.

Of those producers 81 percent sold all their food within 100 miles of their farm.

“In rural communities, boosting local and regional markets can have a great impact on local economies and help keep rural families on the farm. New farmers can produce more food products on fewer acres and add value to operations that may have been in the family for years, or on new land where creativity in growing products for sale can provide a good income.” Kari O’Neill, SDSU Extension community vitality field specialist

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"In rural communities, boosting local and regional markets can have a great impact on local economies and help keep rural families on the farm," O'Neill said. "New farmers can produce more food products on fewer acres and add value to operations that may have been in the family for years, or on new land where creativity in growing products for sale can provide a good income."

To aid American farmers wishing to sell local, Congresswomen Chellie Pingree of Maine introduced a bipartisan bill that would ease some of the hurdles small farmers face in the direct marketing of food products they raise. Readers who want to learn more can read about this in a Morning Ag Clips article found at this link: https://www.morningagclips.com/pingree-leads-bipartisan-local-farms-act/.

To learn more about South Dakota's local food initiatives, contact O'Neill at kari.oneill@sdstate.edu.

–SDSU Extension