Facts about the current food system

  • Our area is at risk of losing the capability to produce food locally.
  • According to the USDA Agricultural Census:
    • 93% of our local farms producing food have disappeared since 1950.
    • The five year survival rate is less than 50% and the average farmer age is 58 years, and increasing. Once farms and farming skills are lost, they are extremely difficult to replace.
  • Farmers on average receive only 17 cents on the retail sales dollar when selling through traditional channels. Middlemen and distributors take the remaining 83 cents
  • Only 0.3% of food is purchased directly from producers through channels such as farmers markets and CSAs. These direct outlets foster direct connections with farmers so consumers can know who grows their food. Direct sales generates higher margins for farms. However, direct sales are limited by weather, seasonality and lack of convenience.
  • 99.7% of food is purchased indirectly from producers. Food travels long distances from farm to table - on average 1,500 miles. The current food system is dependent on high levels of fossil fuels and is vulnerable to climate change, oil shortages and other disruptions.
  • It will take a unified effort to turn this trend around!