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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