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Local food increasingly valued by US consumers

Forager survey results have shown that over three-quarters of respondents would be willing to pay up to 20% more for local food, as this means they will be getting the freshest produce with the lowest carbon footprint.

“The overall quality and variety of nutrients may be better in locally sourced produce, which, since it doesn’t need to travel long distances, can be picked at its peak ripeness,” said dietitian Lauren Parsly, MPH, RD, LDN, Tufts Medical Center. “Local, independent farms tend to use agricultural methods that result in better soil quality than conventional farming. Better quality leads to better taste, a real motivator for keeping up an increased level of fruit and vegetables in our daily diets.”

Parsly sees a strong tie between healthy eating and a healthy planet: “There is a wide-ranging trend towards consuming fewer processed foods and increasing fresh food intake. Not only are there cardiovascular benefits to plant-based eating, but there are sustainability benefits as well. Many local and small farmers practice sustainable and organic farming methods that reduce exposure to pesticides.”

Forager, whose digital procurement platform connects local farmers with grocers to bring consumers locally grown food, asked consumers what they saw as the top benefits of going local — and whether they’d change their buying habits if it meant better access to local produce.

As reported on, the survey found that local food is ticking off all the boxes for healthy living in 2020. Respondents identified their top two food-related goals for 2020 as “eating healthier” (86%) and nearly a third identified “eating more sustainably and reducing my carbon footprint.”

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