NC has the 10th most farmers markets in the country

August 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm

The Winston-Salem Journal reports good news on local foods and farmers markets in North Carolina. For the third year in a row, the state has the 10th most farmers markets, with the number of markets up 11 percent since 2010. This is in part due to the efforts of the “10% campaign” which aims to increase the amount that North Carolinians pay for local foods to 10 percent of their food budgets. The program is a partnership between NC State, the NC Cooperative Extension, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), and the Golden LEAF Foundation.

Participants pledge to spend 10 percent on local foods, and then go to the campaign website to log what they’ve spent. Since July 2010, the website reports that 5,518 people and 674 businesses have spent over $19 million on local foods. 

CEFS published a statewide action guide, called “From Farm to Fork: A Guide to Building North Carolina’s Sustainable Local Food Economy” in 2010 that provides the underpinning for the 10% campaign.  The goal was to “provide key action ideas for building a sustainable food economy in North Carolina at the state and local levels.” It includes analysis of the challenges in the state, as well as recommendations for action. The chart below provides an overview of their model for building a local food system.

The 10 percent program, and the growth of farmers markets, are key to getting farmers connected to markets and consumers, and ultimately get more local healthy foods into our homes. This is great for our agriculture industry, our health, and our economy. As the 10 percent campaign says, if North Carolinians spend $35 billion on food each year, dedicating 10 percent to local foods would inject $3.5 billion into our economy.

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Entry filed under: Agriculture Policy, Economic Development, Farm Policy, Healthy Foods. Tags: , , .

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