Small Farms, Big Difference
There are many reasons to buy locally, and its demand from consumers shows. Community supported agriculture (CSA), food hubs, farmers markets, and on-farm markets continue to develop around the United States. The beginning of August always means that these local food options are running full throttle throughout the United States. A majority of these local food choices are run by small farmers, and they are reaping the rewards.
Local foods allow for consumers to get fresh, nutrient filled food, a short distance from their door step. The increased demand of local food is good news for small farmers. The direct sales per small farm, on average, equal 35% of their total farm sales. By consumers buying from small farms, it preserves these small farms in rural communities.
These trends make small farmers, like John and Nancy Mims, very happy. In a recent USDA blog post, “Making Artisan Cheese, a Couple Preserves a Way of Life”, the Mims family explains their unexpected lifestyle of running a small dairy farm. The demand for their small dairy farm has allowed them to expand to making cheese, which the love to sell at their local farmers market.
New data from the USDA continues to show the demand for farmers markets. The USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory now lists 8,268 markets, which is an increase of 78% since 2008. The USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know your Food Initiative has been a huge reason for the boom in local and regional foods through their policies, resources, and outreach efforts.
Find CSA’s, food hubs, and on-farm markets in your area by taking a look at the USDA’s local food business directory here.
Did you know?
- Approximately 45 gallons of maple sap is required to produce one gallon of maple syrup.
- The hide value of an alligator depends on the width of the belly.
- The states with the most wind energy installed are Texas, Iowa, California, Illinois and Minnesota.
- Cotton accounts for about 35% of all fibers produced.
- Every state in the United States grows apples.
- The United States is the world's leading soybean producer and exporter.
- The velvet from elk antlers are harvested in early summer and then the velvets are frozen, dried and sold.
- An averaged American eats 3.97 pounds of nuts per year.