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Locavore Index 2013: How Does Florida Stack Up?

Since the Alice Waters and Chez Panisse came into the scene in Berkeley in the 1960's, there has been a huge movement to localize our food systems. Obviously, some areas caught on a bit quicker than others.

Some areas do make it easier. Iowa, for example, is pretty much one big farm. Right?

As the top ranking agricultural state in the Southeast you would think Florida would come up fairly high in the ratings.

Apparently, not. Details after the jump.

See Also:

- GMOs to Blame for Decline in Florida Honeybees?

- Andrews Farm: New Urban Farm to Provide Cheap Organic Produce to Fort Lauderdale

Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based local food advocacy group released its second annual Locavore Index, ranking all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see who stacks up on the top of the locavore movement.

The index looked at farmer's markets, consumed supported agriculture programs (CSAs), and food hubs to compare consumer interest in local products. The data came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for farmer's market information; the U.S. Census bureau, for population stats; and LocalHarvest, a California-based locavore resource directory of CSAs.

In order of rank, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Iowa rounded out the top five.

The bottom five included Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas.

Yes, Florida came in at second to last. Pretty bad for a state with 47,500 farms producing 300 different commodities on over 9.2 million acres of land, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Human Services.

In 2011 corn production brought in $20 million, cucumbers $52 million, oranges $1.3 million, squash $95 million, tangerines $65 million, strawberries a whopping $366 million. That same year Florida ranked number one in the US for production of oranges, grapefruit, fresh market snap beans, fresh market cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, sweet corn, fresh market tomatoes,  and watermelons. Number two in strawberries, tangerine, cucumbers for pickles, and sugarcane for sugar and seed. And number four for honey production.

So there you have it: Florida is producing tons of food, but it's mostly from mono-farms for consumption out of state. Kind of sad, isn't it?

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Sara Ventiera

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