Local Food Mandate Meets Slow Start

| 4/29/2008 4:44:08 AM

ProduceWoodbury County, Iowa, created the Local Food Purchase Policy in 2005 to mandate that food supplied in county facilities, such as jails and juvenile facilities, be locally grown. Despite the growing popularity and availability of local food nationally, Governing reports, Woodbury’s success has been modest—a few new farmers have cropped up, the county is buying its eggs from a local provider, and a $40 million soybean processing plant is being built (which some might question as a local food success, if the goal is to support small local ventures). The Woodbury example raises the question of whether the local food push is more successful if it comes from small producers themselves, or whether mandates are necessary because rural economies have already withered beyond independent regeneration.

 —Lisa Gulya

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