Went to a meeting of Big Stone Area Growth last night. My mind is whirling with all the possibilities; one of which is recreating a local foods economy. Can we support a local foods industry with just 5,000 people living in this county?
Do the math:
X $120/month spent on groceries (a conservative estimate)
= $600,000 per month on groceries or $7.2 million per year on food to eat
If just 10% were spent on local foods that would be $60,000 per month or $720,000 per year. That could support 5 new small farm families with a gross income of $120,000 per year on a 40 acre parcel or so. That could be a decent quality of life.
Increasing from 0% to just 10% local foods sold in grocery stores, butcher shop, direct market and farmers market means $720,000 per year stays in our county. We retain our wealth, we support our community. We could produce healthy, local pork, beef, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, jams, pickles, and maybe could include some grains like oatmeal.
As one of those consumers/producers I want healthy local foods-- meaning some grassfed animals and sustainably produced produce.
Those figures don't even include local foods sold in the restaurants, care facilities, the local schools....
And maybe some day microbrewery using locally grown hops to make some Big Stone Brew...
Could this be low hanging fruit for some quality of life, quality of place, economic development? Someone check my numbers please.