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Local Food Development

Harvesting a Growing Economy

Consumers in Johnson County want to purchase locally-grown food products, yet we have a $177 million unmet demand for local food in our region. Johnson County is well positioned to support this rising demand by advancing our local food economy.

The Rising Demand for Local Food 

  • In 2015, local food sales totaled $8.7 billion in the United States. This showed a twofold increase in local food sales from 2008.
  • Data shows that farmers who sell into local markets are more likely to “survive” than other farming & ranching operators.
  • Johnson County accounts for 27% of the unmet demand for local food in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Benefits of Local Food

Economic Benefits

Buying locally-grown food keeps a greater proportion—25% more—of every food dollar in the local economy ($.65 vs $.40, respectively). This helps farmers grow their business, enables them to expand their employment of local farm laborers, and helps prevent the loss of agricultural land in Johnson and surrounding counties. 

Health Benefits

The amount of time between harvest and consumption of many fruits and vegetables affects its nutrient content and composition. When locally-grown food is consumed within a shorter harvest-to-consumption timeframe, it retains more of its nutritional value. Research also hows that buying local is correlated with a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Meeting the Need Through Local Agriculture

1.  Only 101 of our 91,000 farm acres currently grow fruits and/or vegetables 2.  A significant amount of our land (45%) is zoned for agricultural purposes. 3.  Proximity to farmers markets and other urban core positions us well for food distribution 4.  243 farms in our country each profited less than $2,500 in 2012 5.  The average age of farmers in our country is 60.02 years old.

Labor shortages, land access, the age of farmers, and farm profitability are all challenges in our county.

Further Assessment is needed

Johnson County Food Policy Council will conduct a food policy audit of Johnson County policies at county government, city government and institutional levels that affect the production, sourcing, purchasing and consumption of local food.  Policy support ensures our agriculture land is profitable for farmers while still meeting local needs.

PREPARE what you can eat, SAVE what you don't!

Save the Food Johnson County - the Johnson County Food Policy Council (FPC) is teaming up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Ad Council to launch their national public service campaign SAVE THE FOOD that aims to combat wasted food from its largest source - consumers - by raising awareness and changing behavior.

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