Published Jun 23, 2010

more on eating locally

By Tomoko Ogawa

A couple weeks ago, I attended the presentation by Ken Meter at Story County office on the impact of local food system within the county. Meter’s presentation provided many interesting statistics, from obesity rate of Iowans to Iowa’s average farm income. One of the numbers, however, stood out as it resonated my last blog entry.

I wrote on this blog about a month ago that even if we estimate that an individual spends $5 for food per day, the total food purchases of Ames residents would be around quarter million dollars each day. Similarly, Ken Meter said consumers in Story County spend $214 million on food each year. Of that amount, $190 million are from outside Story County. Again, I was reminded that there is a lot of opportunity to improve local economy through the local food system.

Within the last two months, USDA-ERS published two studies on local food, one on local food systems and the other on local food supply chains (, There are a number of studies that argue for positive impacts of local food system. During last week’s field day, our speaker from DNR told there wouldn’t be much change in the long term when outsiders ‘educate’ people and walk away. The culture has to remain within people which affects how they farm. In the case of local food system, how many more studies do we need to realize effective change, to genuinely gain the lost culture of eating locally? We shouldn’t become fed up with the idea of local food without actually achieving anything….

You can listen to Meter’s presentation and access more information on Story County’s local food initiatives at,21,6,1,Documents.