10 Random Facts to Help Enforce Buying and Eating Local

  • The typical American prepared meal contains, on average, ingredients from at least five countries outside the United States.*

  • Between 1968 and 1998, world food production increased by 84 percent, population by 91 percent, while food trade increased 184 percent*

  • What Americans eat is produced in other countries, including an estimated 39 percent of fruits, 12 percent of vegetables, 40 percent of lamb, and 78 percent of fish and shellfish in 2001*

  • Fresh produce arriving by truck at the Chicago Terminal Market from within the continental United States traveled an average one-way distance of 1,518 miles in 1998, a 22 percent increase over the 1,245 miles traveled in 1981-*

  • Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen- **

  • Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! - **

  • Local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food.***

  • Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms conserve fertile soil and clean water in our communities ***

  • Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors. ***

  • Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. ***

*Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (

** Local Harvest  (

***University of Vermont (