Baton Rouge, La. - New Report from USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Helps Communities Measure the Economic Benefits of Local Food Investments With Real-World Examples and Measurement Tactics. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has unveiled a new resource created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Colorado State University that will help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. The Secretary released details about " The Economics of Local Food Systems: A Toolkit to Guide Community Discussions, Assessments and Choices" in his keynote remarks at the 12th Annual Good Food Festival and Conference in Chicago.
"Strong local and regional food systems are helping to revitalize rural and urban communities across the country, and more than 160,000 farmers and ranchers nationwide are tapping into growing consumer demand for locally grown products. With USDA support, this sector is increasing access to healthy foods for local residents and creating opportunity for small businesses that store, process, market and distribute food," said Vilsack. "Now community leaders have a toolkit that can help measure job creation and other economic development indicators, which will help make the case for continued investments."