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Food to Fork Facts

Check out these farm to fork facts about local and non-local foods:

  • Local foods usually are allowed to ripen on the vine for longer, increasing the plant’s nutritional value. (Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, 2010)
  • Ten percent of all fossil fuel energy consumption in the United States is due to food processing, transportation, storage and preparation. (Horrigan, Leo, et al. 2002)
  • Small, family-owned farms reinvest a larger portion of their profits into their communities. While large, industrial farms often bulk order seeds, equipment, and products from distant companies, small farms are more likely to purchase operating supplies and services from other locally owned businesses. (Sustainable Table, 2010 and Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, University of Iowa, 2003)
  • Farmers who sell their produce locally are more likely to choose fruit and vegetable varieties for their superior flavor rather than for their durability for travelling long distances. (Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, 2010)
  • Buying local products gives farmers an incentive to diversify their offerings, rather than focus on a single crop. Diversified fields help protect the environment by producing crops that are more resilient against pests, extreme weather and disease. (Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, 2010)
  • Processed food in the United States travels more than 1,300 miles on average to reach consumers. (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, 2008)
  • On average, produce travels more than 1,500 miles from the industrial farm to the plate. (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, 2008)
  • On average, an American meal usually consists of ingredients from five different countries. (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 2007)
  • Typically, non-local food spends seven to 14 days in transit to reach American consumers. (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 2007)
  • Smaller family-owned farms typically reinvest more into the local economy by purchasing goods and services available within their region, rather than through large bulk distributors outside the region. (Worldwatch Institute, 2002)