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Finding Food in Farm Country. Ken Meter. Crossroads Resource Center (Minneapolis). “From the Ground Up” Springfield, Minnesota April 8, 2004. Crossroads’ approach:. Better answers when local residents engaged Professionals serve resident needs. Crossroads’ approach:.

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Finding Food in

Farm Country

Ken Meter

Crossroads Resource Center (Minneapolis)

“From the Ground Up”

Springfield, Minnesota

April 8, 2004


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Crossroads’ approach:

  • Better answers when local residents engaged

  • Professionals serve resident needs


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Crossroads’ approach:

  • Start by measuring local assets

  • THEN ask what is missing

  • Build local capacities & assets


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Crossroads’ approach:

  • Having good numbers matters

  • Negotiate with strength using solid data


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Usually, farm analysts measure:

  • Specific crops or commodity programs

  • Specific types of farm operations

What do we learn if we take the view of the whole community?


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“Finding Food in Farm Country”

Southeast Minnesota

Partners: Community Design Center & University of Minnesota


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Southeast Minnesota’s Food & Farm Economy

  • 303,000 residents

  • $10 billion purchasing power each year

  • 8,436 farm families

  • 1.4 million farm animals


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Southeast Minnesota’s Food & Farm Economy

  • Stable farm community

  • Lasting social bonds

  • Leaders in conservation tillage

  • Many small farms

  • One of most diverse farm economies in U.S.


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Southeast Minnesota’s Food & Farm Economy

However…

Houston, MN spent 2 years with no grocery store

Fragile, small food businesses are springing up all over

How to explain this?


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Southeast Minnesota’s Food & Farm Economy

  • Region’s farmers produce $866 million of food per year (1997)

  • Spend $947 million to raise it

  • Lose $80 million in production costs

Yet…


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Southeast Minnesota’s Food & Farm Economy

So…

  • Farm families require $129 million of other farm-related income to cover their costs

  • This includes $42 million in federal supports



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Finding Food in Farm Country

Moreover, as farmers struggle...

  • The region’s consumers spend $500 million buying food each year

  • Most bought from outside region


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Finding Food in Farm Country

In fact…

  • The average food item in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles from farmer to consumer

  • Over 60% of the cost of food is an energy cost


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Finding Food in Farm Country

All told, Southeast Minnesota...

  • Loses $400 million raising food, &

  • Loses $400 million buying food

  • Potential wealth lost each year


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Finding Food in Farm Country

Total loss is:

  • $800 millioneach year!

  • Totals 92% of the value of all food raised in the region


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Finding Food in Farm Country

If local consumers bought only 15% of their food locally:

$45 millionof new farm income earned each year


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Finding Food in Farm Country

Impact of the study...

Southeast Minnesota Farm Network

50 farms & processors work together

Goal: $250,000 sales in 2004







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Cumulative loss1992-2000

for all farms is $171 million









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Food sales are concentrated importer by 2007

  • 40% of groceries sold by 5 chains

  • Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club are top 2

  • 85% of food industries lack competitiveness


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Consumption out of balance importer by 2007

  • 50% of U.S. public school students qualify for free / reduced lunch

  • 10% of households are “food insecure”


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Consumption out of balance importer by 2007

  • Over half of all adults overweight

  • Half of elderly seeking medical care are undernourished


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Supply & Demand out of balance importer by 2007

  • Farm prices low due to high production & foreign competition

  • Researchers focus on producing even more!


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Health suffers importer by 2007

  • Diet-related diseases cause half of all deaths in industrial world

  • Change in diet could prevent 30% of cancer worldwide

  • 5,000 deaths due to food poisoning each year in U.S.

  • 30,000 coronary cases in US could be prevented by eating 1% less fat


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Health suffers importer by 2007

  • 76 million gastrointestinal illnesses treated each year in US (total population 281 million)

  • Medical costs of obesity amount to $118 billion per year—25% of what all US consumers pay for food each year


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Key shifts importer by 2007

  • From consumers to co-investors

  • Farming that builds wealth in communities

  • Shared risk among clustered firms

  • Farm policy supports rural communities instead of commodities

  • Reduced energy use


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Community-Based Food Systems: importer by 2007

Map courtesy of www.FoodRoutes.org


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Solid data matters! importer by 2007

…Could Southwest Minnesota use a

“Finding Food in Farm Country” study?


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“Finding Food in Farm Country” importer by 2007

http://www.crcworks.org/ff.pdf

[email protected] (612) 869-8664


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Food with the Farmers' Face on It importer by 2007

Media guide covering

community-based foods systems

W. K. Kellogg Foundation

http://www.wkkfweb.org/FSRDFullGuide.pdf


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Food service & lodging income rises as importer by 2007

farming & manufacturing income falls


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Source: USDA importer by 2007in Willard Cochrane, The Development of American Agriculture




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AERO importer by 2007

Southeast Minnesota Food Network

Food Alliance

Red Tomato

Six Iroquois Nations

Buffalo Commons

CISA

Sunflower Fields Farm

NYC

Food Trust

California Alliance with Family Farms

Food Circles

Oglala Aquifer

Community Food Alliance

ASAP

Federation of Southern Coops

Tohono O’odham


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