How Youngstown can fix 5 huge problems with 1 small change

Flannel Farms set up at the B&O Station Night Market. Youngstown, Ohio July 2012

Small change, but it will require a lot of work. Those of us who live in the Youngstown area can do some incredible things if we start eating local food.

What if we could:

  • Create new local jobs
  • Turn acres of urban land into beautiful edible green space
  • Improve nutrition and health
  • Build a stronger community
  • Boost our local biodiversity

A 2010 study by NEOfoodweb suggests NE Ohio can:

  • Create 27,664 jobs
  • Increase regional output by $4.2 billion annually
  • Expand state and local tax revenue by $126 million annually

This would put 1 in 8 unemployed residents back to work. All we have to do is buy local food. Not all of our food. Not even half. If we purchased just 25% of our food from local sources, Northeast Ohio could create almost 30,000 jobs! That’s less than 1 meal a day. Imagine what we can do if we surpass that figure!



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2 responses to “How Youngstown can fix 5 huge problems with 1 small change

  1. It’s a great idea but it has to be available to all. So say a family shops at Bottom Dollar because of price and location. Then Bottom Dollar should carry local food Not everyone has access to the Farmers Market or B&O. More has to be done to get the grocery stores to carry local

    • Right now, local food could not compete with Bottom Dollar or any other low cost grocer on price. The supply of local food makes it more expensive. But there are two ways this can change in the future.

      1. As the local food movement grows, competition will drive the price down. Because industrial agriculture offers so many mechanical efficiencies, we may never see local food being as cheap as industrial food currently is. This being said, locally produced food could still become cheaper over time.

      2. One of the best models I have seen, (which Grow Youngstown does) is a subsidized price for products. This allows producers to have a larger market, but with a smaller profit margin. For example, if people can pay a higher price for produce, they pay a price above retail and the extra goes into a fund to subsidize someone who cannot afford to pay. This is completely driven by generosity within the community.

      3. The last model I have seen is Fresh Moves, an old city bus in Chicago that travels around the city as a mobile grocery. An idea like this requires little overhead and could be an option to make local food more competitive with traditional grocery stores.

      Thanks for the comment!

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