A Farm to School workshop in Davenport, Nebraska, in August. Participants came from as far away as 150 miles.
The interest in and demand for locally grown foods continues to grow. The increase in the number of farmers markets is a good indication of this escalating interest.
Nationally, farmers markets have more than doubled since 2000, from 2,863 to 6,132 in 2010. Over 100,000 farms now sell directly to local consumers. Most of the growth occurred because of interest and demand, which translates into improved local economies, according to a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Examples of this are showing up in small towns across the Midwest. A recent survey of northeast Nebraska consumers indicated that 94 percent would shop locally if more locally produced foods were available; and 83 percent felt the availability of locally produced food was important or very important to their household.
At the Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, IA, Center for Rural Affairs Executive Director Chuck Hassebrook spoke with President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Here's his account - and your backstage pass - to the meeting.
I spoke with President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack last week at the Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa.
The decisions we make in this time of economic and budget crisis define who we are as a nation and
shape our future. Cuts will be made in farm and rural spending. The most important decision is how