Sales of locally grown food accounted for at least $9 million in economic activity in Iowa last year according to a new report.
Researchers at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University tracked “institutional purchases” of locally grown food by grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
The researchers say this is the first attempt to try to measure the economic impact of regional food systems in Iowa. Their work went beyond the traditional concept of a grower selling to a consumer at a farmers’ market to track sales between growers and businesses.
Restaurants, grocery stores and other bulk purchasers reported buying nearly $9 million worth of locally raised food products. On average, local food purchases accounted for a little less than nine percent of an institution’s overall food budget.