“Local food” seems to be all the rage – but how big of a trend is it and how is selling locally working out for small scale farmers?
The USDA report Direct and Intermediated Marketing of Local Foods in the United States looks at these questions and more.
The report lays out information collected in 2008 on the growing local food industry:
Farm size dictates how local products were sold. Large farms with annual sales over $250,000 accounted for 92 percent of the intermediated sales recorded (products sold at grocery stores, restaurants and distributors), while small and medium-sized farms exclusively relying on direct-to-consumer channels accounted for 73 percent of these sales. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) only accounted for 1% of small farm sales.
Yet because of the lack of infrastructure and appropriate technologies, direct sales still take more time and energy than those mediated by middlemen.