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GeoMetrx Common Ground News Volume 1: Issue 4 – The Growing “Locavore” Movement: A Ripe Opportunity

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Volume I : Issue 4

April 2012

Welcome to Common Ground News

In this issue:
Feature Article – The Growing “Locavore” Movement: A Ripe Opportunity

Tips & Techniques – helping you get the most out of our online mapping application at GeoMetrx​​ – “Customizing Territory Colors” – how to access the color selection dialog box using the Alignment panel

Thematic Map – Gardening: A Growing Hobby

Trivia challenge​​ – Tomato Trivia

Upcoming Events – GeoMetrx “How To” Webinar Series “Best Practices for Building and Managing Your Territories”

This and all our future newsletters will soon be available through our Knowledge Center resource listed on our website.  We encourage you to share our Common Ground News with your friends and colleagues and we welcome your feedback. Visit our website and make a comment on the contact us page or send us an email at info@geo-e.com.

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The Growing “Locavore” Movement: A Ripe Opportunity

Whether you tout the philosophy of the locavore movement or stand behind the economic theory of free trade, your defenders as well as your detractors will be on hand, ready and willing to share their opinion. Yet, no matter which side of the debate you are on, one fact cannot be denied – the locavore movement is growing, and the opportunties for entrepreneurs are ripe. Based on research conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, the movement was estimated to have generated $4.8 billion in sales in 2008, and it is projected that locally grown foods will generate nearly $7 billion in sales in 2012.

It’s a movement that is gradually reshaping the economics of the agriculture industry and spurring a revival of small farms, something many thought would never happen. Prior to WWII, nearly two out of five Americans lived on farms and food was locally grown and marketed. Rarely was food transported further than a day’s distance. After WWII our infrastructure expanded greatly, transportation costs decreased and refrigeration became more accessible. These changes allowed meats and produce to be transported greater distances at competitive prices. The increasing eco-conscious focus on sustainability has fueled the locavore movement and caused a major shift in how food is being grown and sold in America.

The term locavore was introduced in 2005 on World Environment Day when four women in Northern California kicked-off a month-long dietary challenge “Celebrate Your Foodshed: Eat Locally”, and began calling themselves “locavores.” A locavore is someone who either exclusively or primarily eats foods from their local or regional foodshed. There is no single definition of what defines a local foodshed as distances vary regionally and are also impacted by population density; yet many locavores use a 100-mile radius as a general guide. Produce sold within 24 hours of harvest is usually considered local as well. In comparison, mass-market food items consumed in the U.S. travel an average of 1,300 to 2,000 miles from farm to store according to ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Locavores have a wide variety of beliefs in support of the movement. In the minds of many, local foods are those that come from small farms that have developed social and economic relationships within the local community. A national study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute in 2009 uncovered the top three reasons for participation cited by consumers:
82% – freshness of the products
75% – support for the local economy
58% – knowing the source of the product
While pinpointing exactly how many people are joining the locavore movement is difficult, there are many signs that it’s gaining mainstream attention. Nearly 80% of respondents in a 2006 national survey said they occasionally to always purchased fresh produce directly from growers (Source: USDA, ERR-97 May 2010). Increased demand is creating opportunities for farmers and growers to expand their marketing channels. Local foods are being sold through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, winter markets, food co-ops, CSAs (community supported agricultural groups), supermarkets, specialty stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools and more.

There are numerous public programs and policies that support local food initiatives and provide financing for local food systems. An example is the farm-to-school programs in which some or all of the produce needs of the school cafeteria are met by nearby farms. The National Farm to School Network, which began with just a handful of farm-to-school programs in the late 90’s, and climbed to 1,000 in 2005, is now estimated to have reached 2,518 programs as of 2012.

Farmers Markets are increasing in numbers across the nation as well. According to the USDA, there were 7,175 farmers markets in 2011, a 17% increase from 2010.

Large retailers are yielding shelf space to meet consumer demand for locally grown foods. Stores such as Walmart, Safeway, Meijer and Weis Markets are participating in local food initiatives. Local restaurants are meeting the demands of their patrons to provide local foods as well.  According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 89% of fine-dining and nearly 30% of fast food operators served locally sourced items in 2008; while both believed these items would become more popular, 90% and nearly 50%, respectively.

In St. Louis, Missouri an innovative partnership is bringing “Mobile Markets” to commuters using public transportation for the March-October growing season.  Whatever the motivation of individual locavores, the movement is gaining momentum and the opportunities for entrepreneurs are ripe, whether choosing to enter the market by starting a small urban farm, becoming an intermediary, selling direct-to-consumer, or any of the other numerous entry points. As always, any market entry or expansion should be backed by thorough research to develop a solid strategy.

Tips & Techniques – Changing the Color of a Territory on the Map

You can quickly and easily customize each of your territories in GeoMetrx and you can choose from a preselected chart of colors or select a custom color.

To change the color of a territory:
Display your territories on Strategy Map.
In the Alignment Panel, click the colored square to the left of the territory name.
The Select Color dialog box displays.

To set the color, you have several choices:
Click the colored square that represents the color that you want.
Enter color values in the Red, Green and Blue text boxes.
Enter the color number in the Hex text box.
Use the slider on the rainbow color scale to select the range of color, and then drag the dot in the colored rectangle until the Current sample displays the color you want to use.
Click OK. The territory displays in the color you chose.

Gardening: A Growing Hobby

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we often seek refuge in our hobbies and interests in hopes of maintaining balance and finding purpose. Gardening has long been a favorite leisure time activity for many Americans, allowing us to reconnect with nature and providing many a sense of peace and harmony with the world.

A fast growing trend in gardening is the participation of the younger generation taking part in home and community gardening projects. According to Dr. Charlie Hall, Professor of Horticulture at Texas A&M, “Gen Y’s are embracing a connection with plants based on economics, environmental impact, health and wellness,” as reported by the Garden Media Group in their latest Garden Trends Report. GMG’s research also shows that vegetable gardening has increased by 20% and community gardening by 60% over last year. In 2010, the average household spent $600 on their yards and gardens.

Below is a heat map of gardening across the lower 48 generated from our GeoMetrx mapping application. The dark green areas show the highest concentration of leisure gardeners. What’s of particular note is that every county across the country has some level of participation ranging from 13.6% to 55% of the population.

Click to see a larger version of this map.

❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀   ❀

April 2012 – Trivia Challenge

1) Is a TOMATO a vegetable or a fruit?

2) TRUE or FALSE: In 1893, the Supreme Court ruled on the TOMATO’s status.

Click here for the answers!