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Surveys gauging interest in local foods

By Staff | Aug 23, 2019

Sue Sitter/PCT Jo Gilje hands out flyers soliciting participation in local foods surveys at the farmers market in Rugby Wednesday.

Three surveys are out in regards to consumption, production and use of local foods.

The Northern Plains Resource Conservation & Development Council is conducting a feasibility study, for which surveys for local food consumers, producers and businesses considered “buyers” (grocers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) are gathering information.

According to study coordinator Jo Gilje, of Rolette, the council had a grant for the study put in by Paul Overby, and the study seeks to bridge the gap between farmers markets selling out, people wanting to buy local foods and producers trying to meet demand. The study will also attempt to gauge why some institutions don’t buy or use local foods.

“I think it’s worthwhile to take the time to do this survey,” said Gilje, “so we can get an idea of what the public wants.”

Local foods are defined as those, according to a press release, that are produced within 100 miles of where they are purchased, and they are either sold directly to consumers or with “limited middlemen, such as a cooperative.” Local foods can include dairy, cheese, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, meat, poultry, canned goods, honey, beer and wine.

Gilje said the study seeks 606 respondents, or 1 percent of the population in the general public survey, a 70 percent response rate from the producers’ survey and a 65 percent rate from the buyers’ survey.

As part of the study, participation has been sought via flyers at farmers markets, NDSU Extension Agent offices, Soil Conservation District offices and some businesses in Rolette, Pierce, Benson, Eddy, Ramsey, Nelson, Walsh, Pembina, Cavalier and Towner counties. The survey can be found online at surveymonkey.com; on the Northeast ND Local Foods – NPRC&D page on Facebook; and flyers with QR codes have been handed out for taking the survey on mobile devices.

The study will be conducted until the end of September and results are slated for an October release.

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