Love eating local? Then here’s where you should live, according to a new study

I’ve written before about the challenges of eating local. How much locally grown food is available to us is often a function of geography. A new study shows the truth in that, with a few surprising exceptions.

A firm called Lawn Starter looked at the 150 largest U.S, cities and came up with the following rankings of the best cities for eating (and drinking) local:

Best Cities for Locavores
1 Santa Rosa, CA
2 Ontario, CA
3 Salem, OR
4 Vancouver, WA
5 Worcester, MA
6 Anaheim, CA
7 Yonkers, NY
8 Jersey City, NJ
9 Fort Lauderdale, FL
10 Hialeah, FL
Worst Cities for Locavores

Worst Cities for Locavores
141 Lubbock, TX
142 Chicago, IL
143 Lincoln, NE
144 Omaha, NE
145 Laredo, TX
146 Colorado Springs, CO
147 Wichita, KS
148 Amarillo, TX
149 Sioux Falls, SD
150 Anchorage, AK

It’s not surprising to see so many West Coast cities on the best list, climate and growing conditions allow for fresh produce year-round.

In reviewing its findings on its website, LawnStarter notes that, “The Golden State dominates our rankings, claiming 10 of the top 20 cities. The reasons are obvious: California is an agricultural powerhouse. One-third of all vegetables and two-thirds of all U.S. fruits and nuts come from this single state. It’s certainly easier to eat local when much of the nation’s food supply is just down the road.”

I was surprised to see Yonkers, N.Y. on the list but keep in mind the factors looked at include such things as the availability of local bakeries and microbreweries, access to farmers’ markets and farm-to-table restaurants.

The report on the study discusses the advantages of helping local food businesses by eating local, especially during these pandemic times.

“Eating and drinking (milk, wine, beer) locally saves jobs. Local restaurants, craft breweries, and local wineries have been hit hard by the pandemic. Restaurants and bars were projected to lose $240 billion in 2020, and the picture for the early part of 2021 isn’t any rosier.

“One way to satisfy your stomach and your conscience is to become a locavore, savoring the flavors mainly of foods grown and produced nearby.

“Not only can eating locally produced food help struggling businesses, but it also helps the environment. The average bunch of vegetables travels 1,800 miles from farm to plate, whereas locavores typically eat food produced within 100 miles,” LawnStarter notes.

The Infographic below contains more details from the study,


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