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Farm fresh food often gets a bad rap for being more expensive. Better school food? “More expensive,” think most. Think again: in Oregon state lawmakers are looking for ways to stimulate the local economy, and it turns out that locally produced food in 91 school lunchrooms may be one way to do it. Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at the Northwest Health Foundation has analyzed investing in the local food economy and discovered that:

1. A small amount of money can leverage much greater investment in local purchasing.

2. For every food dollar spent locally by two school districts, an additional 87 cents was spent in Oregon.

3. The economic investments in the Oregon agricultural community trigger successive spending in almost every part of the Oregon economy.

Deborah Kane the Vice President of the Food and Farms program for Ecotrust says, “This research confirms that the farm-to-school programs are a viable investment that can make an immediate impact on nearly every sector of our state’s economy.”

And that’s not all. The study noted other benefits including a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and an increased demand for local products. For example, apples, beef, chili, cheese and corn are now sourced locally. As a result of these positive benefits, two Oregon legislators are now proposing a bill to expand from the current two school districts to a statewide farm to school effort.

To read more about the study, click here.