Is Local Food Affordable for Ordinary Folks? A Comparison of Farmers
Markets and Supermarkets in Nineteen Communities in the Southeast

Anthony Flaccavento, SCALE, Inc

November 1st 2011

The “local foods movement” has been growing rapidly for the past decade or
more, reaching communities in nearly every part of the United States. As
consumers have become more health conscious and a variety of federal
programs have recently begun to support this trend, people from all walks
of life have begun to shift their food expenditures to farmers markets,
CSAs, local grocers and other types of “farm-to-consumer” direct purchases.

Farmers markets have been at the forefront of this growth in local foods,
increasing in number from 1,750 in the mid-nineties to more than 7100 in
2011 (USDA Agriculture Marketing Service). While the best known farmers
markets are in larger cities like New York, Washington, DC and Seattle,
there are in fact hundreds of markets in the southeastern US, Appalachia
and other areas comprised predominantly of small to medium sized towns and
rural areas.

As the local foods movement has grown, some have begun to criticize it as
“elitist”, with expensive foods largely unaffordable for working people,
seniors on fixed incomes and the poor. Farmers markets in particular have
increasingly been cited for this criticism.

Growing out of both the success of farmers markets and this growing
criticism related to their affordability, SCALE, Inc undertook a survey and
analysis of farmers markets in six states in Appalachia and the Southeast
during the months of September and October, 2011.
Attached is the findings of the research.

Dr. Teri Hamlin
North Region Agriculture Education
Georgia Department of Education
204C Four Towers University of Georgia
Athens, Ga 30602
706-552-4461 / 706-540-0032
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