New York City, 05 March 2012

Another Reason to Love Local Food: Job Creation

Another Reason to Love Local Food: Job Creation

By Kate Siskel

No surprise: local food creates more jobs. According to Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, one million dollars in local foods sales creates 13 jobs; one million dollars in non-local food sales creates only three jobs.

I know firsthand that local food creates jobs because it created my current job at BrightFarms! As a Master’s Candidate in Food Systems at NYU, I was looking for a job that would allow me to contribute to building local food systems. I feel fortunate to have found one.

The positive impact of local food on local economies is one of the primary reasons the USDA, and citizens across the country, advocate for local foods. The USDA’s 2009 campaign, Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food and its brand new Know Your Farmer Compass connect consumers to producers to meet mutual demand. Below are some of the conclusions the USDA has drawn on local and regional food systems since the campaign began:

The KYF initiative grew out of a recognition that producers, consumers, and food-related businesses are looking for local and regional food opportunities. Consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and support their local economy. Producers recognize the potential to reach new markets when they connect more directly with local consumers. Savvy entrepreneurs see the gaps that prevent these opportunities from being realized and are stepping in to fill them. And everyone is talking about it.

One of my conclusions is that the new compass is a very helpful tool. Click here to see what local food projects the USDA has funded in your community and across the country. Another conclusion is that BrightFarms is what the USDA defines as a “savvy entrepreneur” narrowing the disparity between supply and demand for local foods!