Cleveland tops another list!  We were just ranked the second best city in the country for local food.  The study cited our 225 community gardens, 12 farmers markets, community-supported agriculture subscriptions (City Fresh, Blue Pike Farm and others), urban farms, and of course talented chefs and local food procurement (Fresh Fork and others). 

What’s interesting about the study is not just that it says Cleveland rocks, but that it describes the incredible potential that urban farming has for the local economy.  The study says that a shift in 25% of our food sources, from out-of-state to a local source, could provide up to 27,000 new jobs.  That’s putting 1/8 unemployed workers back to work.  And of course there’s the accompanying increase in state/local taxe revenue associated with the additional income (estimated at $126 million state/local per year). 

This is all super fabulous, but not exactly easy to achieve.  To work towards this goal, the study advocates creating a NEO Food Authority.  I certainly hope that we can work towards this goal one way or another.  A 25% shift would be huge, but so would the benefits.  Economic, yes, but also for public health and general societal benefit.  We’re talking about eating more fresh local fruits and vegetables and fewer little debbie snack cakes.  More green space and fewer abandoned buildings.  More gainful employment, less crime. 

To support local food, shop at farmer’s markets (find one near you here).  When you go out for a night on the town, try to pick restaurants that support local food.  Vote with your mouth, so to speak.  Your food will taste better anyways 🙂