No place like home

Jeff vonKaenel

Farmers are cool. They have great stories—great stories
that we want to tell.

That’s the basic concept for Homegrown, the new feature
we’re adding to the Green Days section of our paper this

On a weekly basis, we’ll be scouring the countryside to find
the farmers and food producers who are bringing their wares to the
market that week. That is, we’ll run stories about local
strawberry farmers when strawberries are in season. Or squash, or
apricots, or broccoli.

Seasonality is important, because that’s when you can purchase
the freshest, best-tasting food for the best price. Who wants imported
broccoli that’s been scientifically engineered so it won’t
rot on its long journey from South America, when you can have fresher,
better tasting broccoli that’s grown right here at home?

But suppose local broccoli isn’t in season. What are you going
to eat then? It’s simple, really. In Northern California, the
growing season for produce never stops, and there’s almost always
a suitable substitute available that’s fresh and in season, even
for broccoli.

There’s another important reason to support our local farmers
and food producers besides good taste: It helps the local economy.

Consider that as an SN&R reader, you are joined by 330,000 other
readers, who collectively eat 1 million meals per day. If all of our
readers increased their purchases of locally grown produce and food
products by just $5 per week, that would inject $1.6 million into the
local economy each week, or $86.5 million per year.

That’s $86.5 million that remains in our community instead of
being exported to South America.

In turn, $86.5 million will be multiplied through shopping at local
stores and eating at local restaurants. The general rule of thumb is
that when sales stay within the community, those dollars can be
multiplied by five times their value. Thus, if our 330,000 readers
increased their spending on local produce by $5 per week, it could add
$400 million to the local economy per year.

That is a heck of a lot of dough.

And that’s still not all. Buying locally grown food cuts down
on greenhouse-gas emissions, since produce doesn’t have to be
shipped here from thousands of miles away. At the same time, it helps
preserve our dwindling fossil fuel supplies.

In short, buying locally grown food and produce is one of the main
keys to creating a sustainable community. That’s precisely why
we’ve added Homegrown to our sustainability section. That and the
fact that farmers are cool. Enjoy!

Our content is free, but not free to produce

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.