For the full article visit: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/sustainable-food/can-local-food-jumpstart-the-economy.html
“Gourmands have long embraced local food because it’s the right thing to do. But a new report says consumers should view local food enterprises as profitable startups that are key to economic growth and recovery.
Published today by nonprofits the Wallace Center and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, the survey looks at 24 community food enterprises, including the Weaver Street Market in North Carolina’s Research Triangle and Zingerman’s, the well-known deli in Ann Arbor, Mich.
After a long period of ambiguity, the verdict is in on how much locally owned businesses promote economic development. More than a dozen studies have shown that every dollar spent at a locally owned business generates two to four times the income, wealth and jobs than at an equivalent nonlocal business. (Read more about the economics of local foods in an earlier post.)
“This is not only a movement about health or taste. Local food offers a sophisticated business model that is becoming more savvy and more competitive,” said Michael Shuman, BALLE’s director of research and principal author of the report.
Shuman says all locally owned businesses can help the economy grow. But food businesses are the gateway for many people to rethink their relationship with local stores. People have a closer relationship with food than, say, financial services or energy, he explained. As a result, food is at the forefront of local businesses’ driving of economic growth, providing a model for other kinds of entrepreneurs.