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Vt. leads nation in local food consumption

May 29, 2018

Rutland Herald

The nation’s leading states in consuming locally produced food are Vermont, Maine, Montana and Oregon, in that order.

That’s the report of Strolling of the Heifers, a nonprofit food advocacy organization based in Brattleboro. The findings are detailed in the seventh annual “2018 Locavore Index,” which also ranks New Hampshire, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Rhode Island, in that order, in the top 10 locavore states.

“Vermont has led the index since its inception in 2012,” said Martin Langevald, principal researcher and compiler of the Index.

Strolling of the Heifers started its annual agriculture-themed parade a decade earlier, and has expanded its scope to support family farms and promote locavorism: consuming locally produced food.

This year Strolling of the Heifers Weekend is June 1-3 in Brattleboro.

“Vermont’s farmers and producers are helping to grow our economy. Agriculture creates thousands of jobs for Vermonters and it also provides us with fresh food.” said state Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.

“We are lucky to live in a state where Vermonters value the hard work that’s being done on our farms, fields and factories,” he added.

Orly Munzing, executive director of Strolling of the Heifers, said the Locavore Index promotes and keeps track of local food consumption across the country.

“Strolling of the Heifers is all about the idea that growing and consuming local food is better for everyone,” Munzing said.

This year the Locavore Index began using the per-capita value of $112 million in USDA grants that focus on local food.

The index noted that some states made significant movement in the locavore ranking thanks to federal funding. West Virginia, for example, climbed from 23rd to 14th in the nation.

“We continue to seek out better, more reliable data to use in the Index,” Langeveld said, principal researcher and compiler of the Index. “And we’re encouraged that the USDA has maintained a strong program of grants focused on local and specialty foods.”

A map showing the relative locavore status of the states can be seen at https://bit.ly/2xckakj

A chart showing how the states fared in the various components of the index can be see at https://bit.ly/2GPjfG2