Why focus on local food?
For a growing number of Hoosiers, eating local food is a delicious and fun way to support our local economy and enhance our quality of place. Buying local food strengthens relationships between eaters, farmers, winemakers, chefs, brewers across the region and so much more...
“ 10% = $1 billion. If we substituted 10% of our current at-home household food budget with locally grown and produced food, we would generate over a billion dollars of economic activity in Indiana. That’s just $458 per year per household.”
— Jodee Ellett (Local Foods Coordinator, Purdue Extension), Purdue Extension Local Food Program info sheet, 2016
“[Based on USDA Census of Agriculture data] Northeast Indiana produces $1.4 billion of farm products each year, which are typically exported to other states or countries at wholesale prices. Meanwhile, the region imports about $1.9 billion of food (at retail prices) that is sourced outside the state.”
— Ken Meter (Crossroads Resource Center), Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Strategic Plan for Northeast Indiana Local Food Network, 2016
“ Local food sales in the U.S. grew from $5 billion to $12 billion between 2008 and 2014.... The same study predicted local food sales would jump to $20 billion in 2019, outpacing the growth of the country’s total food and beverage sales.”
— Oran B. Hesterman PhD and Daniel Horan, Business Insider, April 2017
The #1 restaurant concept trend for 2017 is hyper-local ingredient sourcing. Three of the other top 10 trends revolve around local food: Environmental Sustainability (#4), Locally sourced produce (#5), Locally sourced meat and seafood (#6).
— National Restaurant Association, What’s Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast
“There is little doubt that food systems are playing a much more prominent role in our plans for future success and our designs for vibrant places. Food is at once a driver of economic vitality , a cultural experience, a path to sustainability, an opportunity for education and entrepreneurship, and a key component of personal and civic health.”
— Chris Freda (Urban Planner & Designer, Sasaki), Local Food as a Driver of Place, 2017
“Another key part of the jobs battle is improving our quality of place . Our workforce is mobile, and we must provide the amenities that attract jobs and talent.”
—Ron Turpin, Board Chairman, on behalf of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., “Turning the tide in the global battle for jobs,” The News-Sentinel, June 9, 2017.
“Indiana is the 10th largest farm state in the U.S., yet 90% of the food Indiana residents eat is sourced outside of the state. In particular, 98% of the fruits and vegetables Hoosiers eat were imported into Indiana.”
— Ken Meter (Crossroads Resource Center), Hoosier Farmer? Emergent Food Systems in Indiana (commissioned by IN State Dept. of Health), 2012
Northeast Indiana leaders prioritize the need to attract and retain talented people to work and live in our region. One of the key factors influencing where people decide to live is their sense of an a area’s quality of place, and a vibrant local food scene has become a critical component of this equation.