Thank you, Eva Clayton

January 8, 2009 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Nourishing NC’s economy

Excerpted from former Congresswoman Eva Clayton’s op-ed in the Raleigh News and Observer, Jan. 5, 2009:

….Building a local sustainable food economy in North Carolina can yield statewide economic development, create jobs and stop money from leaking out of the state in this time of recession. And it comes with many additional benefits as well.

Since food is essential for life, no matter how bad the recession gets, the need and demand for it will continue. This is one industry that we can keep and expand in our state, if we choose to. Expanding our local agriculture does not mean that we don’t trade with other states and nations, but that we buy from ourselves as we trade with others.

According to the USDA, we spend approximately $4,000 per capita annually for food. If we spent just 5 percent of that (amounting to 55 cents per day) on foods grown in our state, it would bring $1.7 billion in revenue to North Carolina farmers and related businesses. In addition, money spent on local food has a multiplier-effect, circulating in the local economy rather than leaving the state to a corporate headquarters elsewhere….

Take apples as an example. N.C. farmers currently grow enough to supply 42 percent of fresh apple consumption in the state. But as a consumer, you are more likely to find an apple from Washington state in your grocery store than you are to find one grown locally. One study has found that on average food travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate….”

She calls on on Governor Purdue and the General Assembly to invest in sustainable agriculture and a regional sustainable food system. And she reminds us that if we as consumers spend even a fraction of our food budget on local fare, we would boost the local economy (keep more dollars in the community) while supporting farmers, ensuring a healthy diet, protecting the soil and water and reducing our carbon footprint.

Click here for the rest of the story.

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