Food Systems

The intent of the 10% Campaign is straightforward: Encourage consumers to commit 10 percent of their existing food dollars to support local food producers, related businesses and communities. The 10% Campaign will:

  • Promote North Carolina’s farmers, foods, communities and businesses
  • Educate consumers, decision makers and the media
  • Collaborate further with the many influential organizations/initiatives already in the field and those just beginning to bloom

Why 10 percent? It is achievable for most, and meaningful for all:

  • North Carolinians spend about $35 billion a year on food. If individuals spent 10 percentb$1.05 per dayblocally, about $3.5 billion would be available in the local economy.
  • The state has the 12th highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, and today, more than a third of its 10- to 17-year-olds is overweight or obese. Infusing fresh and flavorful fruits and vegetables into diets at every age can significantly reduce long-term health care expenses in the state.
  • Expanding the market will result in new farm, food and manufacturing businesses and create jobs.

The people of North Carolina have launched a new initiative to support the development of local and regional food systems. A food system is all the processes involved in feeding peoplebgrowing, harvesting, processing, packaging, distributing, marketing, consuming, disposing and recycling.

North Carolina is well positioned to lead the nation in this endeavor. Our assets include a diverse agricultural economy, a superior educational system, an adaptable workforce and an ever-expanding and diverse set of dedicated partners. Our challenge is to build a sustainable food system that strives to be economically viable, environmentally sound and socially just. Consumer interest in local, organic and sustainably produced foods continues to increase despite the recent downturn in the economy for a discussion of these terms.

National sales of organic foods have almost reached the $25 billion mark, and local food sales are expected to reach $7 billion by 2011. Direct-market venues continue to increase in popularity as consumers seek healthy foods that allow them to support agriculture and fisheries in their local communities. Our state is home to 3,712 farmers selling directly to consumers, for a total value in direct sales of over $29 million. North Carolina has an estimated 200 farmersb markets and an estimated 100 Community-Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs).

In 2009, North Carolinians spent approximately $35 billion on food. If all North Carolina residents spent 10 percent of their food dollars on local foods ($1.05 per day), approximately $3.5 billion would be available in the local economy every year, and part of that would flow back to farmers and food businesses. Greater spending on local foods increases economic activity at the community level, which can translate into job opportunities.

Our statebs population is rapidly increasing. By supporting the development of local food and farming businesses, we can harness consumer spending to support North Carolina producers, including those in rural and urban-fringe communities. We can revitalize our agricultural heritage by strengthening consumersb connections to the land and to the farmers who grow our food. We also have the opportunity to build local and regional food systems that help improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.

In 2003, health care expenditures for chronic diseases in North Carolina were $40 billion, the majority of which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was for the treatment of preventable chronic diseases. Diet plays a significant role in many of these diseases. Increasing access to and encouraging consumption of fresh, healthy foods are important ways to address disease incidence and health care expenditures, particularly in underserved communities throughout our state.

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