Numerous studies have measured the economic impact of increased consumption of locally grown foods. As many advocates have set goals for increasing consumption of locally grown foods to a specific percentage, the missing piece of information is, what is the current percentage of locally grown food being consumed in a given city, state or region. To date, no credible set of methods has been used to measure the percentage of food consumption that is locally grown. In this paper, we apply previously developed methods to measure how much food is currently eaten and would be eaten if USDA Dietary Guidelines were followed. We also propose a set of methods to measure how much of current food consumption currently comes from Vermont. The methods include a set of interviews and surveys of major food buyers and distributors, triangulated with USDA data to scale up results to statewide levels. The methods will be vetted by a team of national experts and be tested in a Vermont pilot study, refined, and finally made available to scholars nationwide for replication. Results will inform changes to current systems which will facilitate future efforts to track local food consumption.
Conner, David; Kahler, Ellen; Berlin, Linda; and Hoffer, Doug, "Economic Opportunity in Local Food Systems: Baselines and Targets" (2011). Opportunities for Agriculture Working Paper Series. 7.