In 2010, the Treasure Valley Food Coalition commissioned Ken Meter of the Minneapolis-based Crossroads Resource Institute to study the Food and Farm Economy of the Greater Treasure Valley. He found that our local agriculture is far from diverse and we don’t eat much of what we grow:
Principal products in the region are cattle and calves, milk and dairy, forage, and grains. Over 90%
of farm sales involve animals or feed for animals; less than 7% of farm production could be eaten by
consumers directly. Only 0.3 percent of farm sales are sold directly to consumers.
Meter’s study also found that there are many opportunities in our agricultural system. Most of the farm inputs, things like seeds, fertilizer, and fuel are purchased from outside of the area, nearly $600 million dollars each year. Many of those could be produced locally—creating jobs and keeping wealth in the community.
The most alarming leakage of money is from consumers purchasing food that could be grown right here.
Meanwhile, consumers spend more than $1.7 billion buying food from outside.
He concludes that $2 BILLION dollars leaves our Treasure Valley economy to purchase food and farm inputs, many of which could be grown right here.