July 15, 2010

Local Foods

Host Marcia Franklin and her guests explore the trend of "eating local." Guests include Janie Burns of Meadowlark Farm in Nampa, Dave Krick of Bittercreek Alehouse in Boise, Frank Muir of the Idaho Potato Commission, and Leah Clark of the Idaho Department of Agriculture's Idaho Preferred ® program.

Franklin and her guests discuss what the movement entails and ways that both consumers and food purveyors, including schools and restaurants, can get more of their food locally. Panelists also discuss challenges the local food movement faces in the state, including the lack of processing facilities, and whether 'eating local' can actually hurt the marketing of Idaho products, such as potatoes, outside of the state.

Idaho currently has more than 50 farmers' markets, and demand for locally grown food is growing. A recent study of farms in the Treasure Valley area showed that about 10%, or nearly 900 farms, sell directly to consumers, a 36% increase over each of the last five years. Still, according to the same study, conducted by Ken Meter of the Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, more than 98% of food bought by Treasure Valley residents, at an estimated cost of $1.7 billion, comes from out-of-state.

See also the companion Outdoor Idaho: "Eating Local," which explores some of the growers, markets, processors, distributors, and consumers that make up the "local foods" eco-system in Idaho.