USDA Study Shows Local Food Buying Not Short-Lived

Colorado State U researcher finds people like direct sales.

Published on: Oct 16, 2013

Colorado State University's Linda Langelo isn't buying into thoughts that direct farm to consumer sales are a short-lived trend.

The CSU horticulture program associate has written about the trend in "Focus Groups, Community Gardens and Access for Fresh Food" which underscores the USDA finding that interest in local food production is not a short-lived process that will die out.

The so-called "short-lived trend" has changed local food production and consumer behavior, she says, in many parts of the U.S.

She cites these findings by USDA's Agriculture Marketing Services:

  • A 33% increase in share of local ag sales by direct-to-consumer sales 1997-2007
  • A 91% increase in the number of farmers markets from 1998-2009
  • A 120% increase in direct-to-consumer sales 1997-2007
  • A 190 increase in the number of Community Support Agriculture 2001-2005
  • A 423% increase in the number of farm-to-school programs 2004-2009

Langelo offers a special plan for developing the direct sales in Colorado's Golden Plains area. "My vision for the Golden Plains area is one where local producers do sell beef to schools and other fresh food, opening an avenue of income," she says.

More farmers are getting into direct marketing, according to USDA figures.
More farmers are getting into direct marketing, according to USDA figures.

"I would also like to see the local restaurants purchasing local produce from producers. I see this as a way of strengthening our communities and with our local dollars helping to support each other.

"However, everyone still needs to keep generating other revenue streams."

With a long range plan and community commitment, we could build a sustainable food system that will decrease the food industry   insecurity issues," she adds, "and some of our dependence   on outside resources for support."

"It won't happen overnight," she says, "However, if we get started and take the steps necessary, this can move forward."

A focus group would be the task force that initiates and creates avenues by bringing people together for implementation, says Langelo, who is stationed in the Colorado Great Plains research station in Akron.