Part of our mission at Food Genie is to help regenerative farmers direct-market to customers who want to eat locally. The more we support farmers, the more we participate in building a viable local food ecosystem. While we always encourage buying right from the farm, so farmers don’t have to spend money on overhead like packaging & transportation, there are many other ways to buy direct, such as farmers’ markets and CSAs.
The Farmer Economy
Farmers have to take perishable inventory to farmers’ markets and hope to sell it all. The same goes for selling all available CSA shares. Of course that is not always realistic. This creates revenue loss and food waste. The implications of this are pretty straight forward. Buying from a farmers’ market or CSA makes sense. But the economics of this move beyond just the farmer.
Recently we came across a research report from UC Davis agricultural economics professor Shermain Hardesty on the direct impact supporting local farmers has on the local economy. Turns out the impact is pretty substantial.
Hardesty’s team found that, in Sacramento where the study was conducted, every dollar of sales for a direct-market fruit or vegetable grower had about two times the local economic impact as the same dollar of sales at a wholesale farm that sells to grocery stores and commercial processors. One of the reasons for this is that direct-market farmers buy more supplies from local companies and hire more local labour than wholesale farms. Direct-market farmers buy 89 percent of their supplies from local sources, compared with 45 percent by the larger wholesale farms.
The Job Economy
Based upon the local spending, the study concluded that, $1 million in revenue from direct-market farms generates almost 32 local jobs whereas the same amount of revenue from the larger growers creates 10.5 jobs locally. Now while we recognize that California is a considerably different agriculture market than Alberta and the rest of Canada, we should definitely pay attention. Our country can always use more jobs.
The Future Economy
It’s fair to say, that the future of regenerative food can also be bright for the economy. And it’s us, the consumer and where we spend our money, that can make all the difference. We hope this research is the beginning of more discussions and policies to see this future realized. Let’s all do our part! You can download the report here.
Questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you!