Friday, April 17, 2009

The enormous impact of buying local

What are the benefits of using local food sources for schools?
We may just be scratching the surface of understanding the potential advantages according to a study being conducted by Ecotrust and Oregon State University. Preliminary results show that money spent on such programs has great implications in the community. In fact, they estimate that every dollar spent in a grant from Kaiser Permanente to two local school districts resulted in $1.87 of economic activity that reverberated throughout most sectors of the economy, not just in the agricultural industries.
That’s because a multiplier effect includes the impact of buying local food as well as the impact of those food suppliers spending the cash on materials and services in turn. When Portland and Gervais school districts were given funds through a grant from Kaiser they were motivated to reallocate those funds to the local economy. Whereas previously they may have been able to buy food a bit more cheaply, they hadn’t always been able to buy local. With the grant they bought local, sometimes paying slightly more, but the result was a huge boost to the local economy. According to the article in Capital Press Agricultural News, the $66,200 grant generated a total of $225,900.