Farm to Table: Buying local adds flavor to economy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Farm to Table: Buying local adds flavor to economy

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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Andrea Whitfield visits the Statesboro Farmers' Market nearly every Saturday from April to November.

"We try to get here early to get the good stuff," she said. "I think it's great to get something healthy and for the kids to get out in the community and see what's available."

The Statesboro market saw 35,000 visitors during the 2012 season and more communities are developing markets where local growers, ranchers, and other farmers can sell their products. Shoppers are buying more produce this way over the variety offered in chain supermarkets.

"People seem to want, strawberries for example, from around here over Guatemala or California or even Florida. And I see that.," explained farmer Jason Berry from nearby Toombs County.

"They want to talk directly to the person who grew it. They can ask questions about whether I spray my fields and how I raise my crops," added J.J. Lee.

The trend also boosts economies, local and state-wide. According to University of Georgia research, for each dollar spent with a national supermarket in Georgia, only 25 cents stays in the state's economy. In contrast, a dollar spent with local farmers translates to 62 cents staying in Georgia's economy.

"That money turns over many, many times," explained Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Gary Black. "It helps our schools. It helps pave our roads. It helps build our state."

In fact, the same research asserts that if every Georgian spent $10 per week on locally produced food, it would generate $3.9 billion in the state's economy.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture has stepped up efforts to market its crops. The Georgia Grown campaign markets the state's crops within the state and beyond. The Department of Agriculture is currently working with several supermarket chains to sell more Georgia crops.

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