In 2015, Minnesota farmers reported $139,354,000 in sales of edible goods sold through direct market channels. This information comes from the United States Department of Agriculture’s historic Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, conducted for the first time in 2015 in response to the growing prevalence of direct marketing food farms, such as Community Supported Agriculture. Acknowledging the clear need to support this emerging sector, Region Nine Development Commission applied for and received an Americorps VISTA service person to build organizational capacity to assist those working in local food.
This document outlines three key projects completed during the VISTA term of service that give insight on the needs of local food businesses:
- A producer profile project
- Interviews with growers
- Surveys sent to local units of government, food buyers and school districts
Additional insights gained from working with partners in the food space and extensive researching and networking by the VISTA are included in the report.