Buy Local Movement Gets Boost from High Fuel Costs
Kroger, Giant Eagle, Wal Mart and other major grocers are featuring local produce. Shoppers often find locally grown tomatoes, squash and cucumbers as they enter the store. Some stores include the name of the farmer as part of the display.
The existing trend toward buying local is getting a boost from higher fuel prices. Kroger Columbus spokeswoman Amy Barlow says the grocer stocks locally grown and produced food items in response to consumers who say they want fresher foods and like the idea of supporting the local economy.
Michael Farms in Urbana has been one of Kroger's suppliers for several years. Scott Michael sees more companies requesting their products even though the price might be higher. He says quality and service are big selling points. And selling locally helps reduce fuel costs.
Ohio State Agricultural Economist Tom Sporleder says grocers are interested in reducing the time between harvest and consumption and minimizing mileage.
Sporleader says, nationally, farmers sell about half of their fresh produce to retail grocers.