Wvffc.food study.pr.4.12


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Wvffc.food study.pr.4.12

  1. 1. For Immediate Release:New study shows West Virginia’s food economy has ample room to growContact: Savanna Lyons, s.lyons@wvhub.org, 304.673.0053Famous for its rugged hills, West Virginia has enough fertile farmland to supply its own residents withall their fresh fruit and vegetable needs during the growing season – and to stimulate new jobs andmillions of dollars in local sales.According to a groundbreaking study recently released by Downstream Strategies, LLC, West VirginiaUniversity and the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, if West Virginia farmers grew enough fruitsand vegetables to meet the in-season fresh produce needs of all state residents, such a shift would alsogenerate 1,723 new jobs and contribute an additional $ 35.7 million in local sales.The study, “West Virginia Food System Assessment: Seasonal Production and its Impacts” also findsthat growing the produce would require less than 10% of West Virginia’s undeveloped prime farmland.“According to our study, if West Virginians bought their fruits and vegetables from local farmers duringthe growing season, about $190 million would stay in the state instead of flowing beyond its borders,”explains explained Downstream Strategies President Evan Hansen. “These locally spent dollars wouldcirculate in the economy as farmers spend more at supply stores and on other goods and services.”Support in growing West Virginia’s food economy is evidenced by the rapid growth in statewidefarmers markets, which has more than doubled in the past decade.“By understanding the revenue-generating potential of meeting our own produce needs during thegrowing season, we hope this study will stimulate conversation about further supporting West Virginiaagriculture,” said Savanna Lyons, Program Manager for the WV Food & Farm Coalition. “Many peoplethink our state doesn’t have enough farmland to grow a significant portion of its own food, but we arevery agriculturally productive, and have plenty of room to grow.” The study’s authors also emphasizethe importance of protecting the state’s existing prime farmland from non-agricultural uses, and theimportance of encouraging new produce farmers as well as the growth of existing farms.The study was released at the recent “Road Map for the Food Economy” event in Bridgeport andprovides a research base for the West Virginia Food Charter to help focus and measure West Virginia’s
  2. 2. progress towards a stronger local food system.This is the first study in a multi-part series funded through the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition bythe blue moon fund. The next phase of the study will address, among other things, local distribution offruits, vegetables and meats to WV consumers.To read the complete report please visit:http://www.downstreamstrategies.com/documents/reports_publication/ds_food_system_report_final.pdf