Florida Ranks Bottom Five in Eating Locally Grown Foods

By: Angelica Alvarez Email
By: Angelica Alvarez Email

Tallahassee - May 8, 2012 -- 11:42pm

Florida produces more than half of the nation's citrus and much of its strawberries and tomatoes. But locally, we don't seem to be enjoying all this produce. A new local food study ranks Florida in the bottom five in the entire nation when it comes to its commitment to raising and eating locally grown food.

Lindsay Tuttle is a loyal customer of Bread and Roses, one of the few co-ops in Tallahassee.

It's been around for three years, providing shoppers with as many local products as it can, which can be a challenge.

"About 80% to 90% of our food does come from a national distributor," said Adam Reid, one of the eight owners of Bread and Roses.

Reid says they have a special committee devoted to just seeking out local products to sell. They sell local honey, candles and local soaps to name a new. They try to reach out to anyone producing item within a 200 miles radius.

They do what they can, but they're fighting numbers from a national local food study. The study shows Florida is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to producing and eating locally grown food, ranking in the bottom five. Vermont ranks number one.

That study shows Vermont has a population of 622,000 people. The state has 99 farmers markets. This compares to Florida's population of 18.5 million and 146 farmers markets. I

No matter what the numbers, people at Bread and Roses say they'll continue to do what they can to encourage local shopping.

"You're helping support a community effort that is sustainable and healthy, and it connects people to people," says Olivia Williams, a local food shopper.

Iowa, Montana, Maine and Hawaii join Vermont in the top five states in the U.S. in raising and eating locally grown food. While Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey and Arizona join Florida at the bottom.

Another option to get locally grown food is to go to localfoodmarketplace.com. That site gives you access to Red Hills On-line Farming. You can pick what you want and arrange to pick up your items at Bread and Roses.

Another food co op in Tallahassee is New Leaf Market.

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  • by Now Native Location: local on May 9, 2012 at 06:25 PM
    Been here over a decade. We would buy if we knew this existed. We will now look into this.
  • by Bobby on May 9, 2012 at 01:01 PM
    The Georgia peaches are big and juicy at the roadside stand. The big chains sign contracts with giant agri-businesses and ship tasteless peaches from California.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on May 9, 2012 at 09:36 AM
    I've waited all day to see if anyone would mention the flea market on S\E Capital circle. They've already got nice variety. Now through Oct. will be simply great. Fruits and veggies. Off chain.
  • by Anne Location: Tallahassee on May 9, 2012 at 08:02 AM
    We have many farmers market type set-ups on specific days in Tallahassee. Most of them occur during work hours, but some on Sat. I frequent one that is offered two afternoons a week on the corner of Kerry Forest Pkwy and Shannon Lakes. They have some good locally grown vegetables. You don't save money buying there but get the advantage of just picked products and knowing you are supporting the small local farmer. Price is generally comparable to the grocery stores, but sometimes higher. I just pass on anything that looks like it is too ripe. There are some foods I like to get from them knowing it has just been picked fresh and is not irratiated and potentially chemically treated to make food last longer for mass transit and distribution. Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, collards, turnips, peas,peanuts, lettuce, herbs, melons. It is expensive for these farmers to offer their crops this way as it takes a whole day to dive over, set-up, man their booths, and anything not sold soon goes bad. Last week one women said she had had few customers. If enough people don't buy from them, they won't be able to continue to sell this way.
  • by Anonymous on May 9, 2012 at 07:30 AM
    I think one of the big issues is accessibility. I shop for groceries at only a few places in town, and neither provide much in the way of local produce. If there were options to pick up more locally grown produce at local grocery stores, I would buy more, but I buy what they have. As long as people are buying what the grocery stores are offering, why should they change what they are offering? The article implies that there is something wrong with buying non-local produce.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 9, 2012 at 08:04 AM in reply to
      Local produce raises problems for chain stores -- too many produce managers making buying decisions, for one thing -- just a lot that can go wrong.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 9, 2012 at 08:14 AM in reply to
      you should check out the red hills online market if you want local produce. There are two pick up options, one is at bread and roses. http://www.localfoodmarketplace.com/redhills/Default.aspx
  • by Mary Location: Tally on May 9, 2012 at 06:54 AM
    It would help if they would reduce the prices since it is locally grown, and the fact that most of it's shipped out of state doesn't help either.
  • by Anonymous Location: tallahassee on May 9, 2012 at 05:34 AM
    Bread and Roses has over 450 owners, not 8, and is a non-hierarchical organization that is member worked and member owned. There are also many more local products such as local bread, eggs, cheese, produce, honey, candles, ice cream, cloth pads, lip balms, and locally roasted fair-trade coffee.
  • by Redd Foxx on May 9, 2012 at 05:29 AM
    Florida exceptionalism.
  • by Anonymous Location: Tallahassee on May 9, 2012 at 05:06 AM
    Bread and Roses currently has over 450 owners.
  • by Anonymous on May 9, 2012 at 05:02 AM
    Most growers and producers now want to get the most they can for their produce and that means it goes to district wholesalers and distributors which leads to it being shipped out of state. Economic reasons and supermarkets are what killed most of the "farmers markets" and neighborhood fruit stands.
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