Project ID



This report, produced for an upper Midwest consortium of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, demonstrated the economic value of local food production and direct marketing under two scenarios.

Key Question

Given a relatively large geographic region, what might be the regional economic gains to be expected from the production of meaningful and realistic quantity of local foods and vegetables for local consumption?


The project, after controlling for the region’s existing production of major fruits and vegetables, statistically substituted locally grown farm products for products that would have had to have been imported from outside of the region. The value of that production and consumption was measured first in terms of each state producing for its in-state population only. That assessment allowed state policy makers and advocates to particularize the findings in a manner that made sense to regional and state advocates. The second method ignored state boundaries and began with a premise that dense metropolitan demand would be the chief regional driver of nearby, successful local foods production. That evaluation took into consideration regional production capacities and distances to metropolitan markets, irrespective of state boundaries, in analyzing the amount and the location of expected production gains. That evaluation also produced a much more market-realistic projection of consumption and production relationships in the Upper Midwest.

Principal Investigator(s)

Dave Swenson

Year of Grant Completion