To come up with the ranking system, the organization looked at data from the United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Census, and other government data that compared the number of community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs and farmer's markets to a state's population. They used this metric to measure the availability of locally produced foods in each state.
Vermont topped the list, boasting 16 farmer's markets or CSA programs per 100,000 residents. Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Idaho rounded out the top 10 most locavore-friendly states.
The states ranking worst in terms of availability of locally produced food include Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida and Texas. Though Texas has an impressive 164 farmers markets and another 171 CSAs, those aren't proportionate to the state's booming population of over 26 million. Texas has just 0.58 local food sources per 100,000 residents.
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Supporting the local food movement reduces the need to ship food long distances, increases access to fresh, more nutrient-dense food, and helps create local jobs and preserve open space by supporting family farms.
To help connect with more local food sources, read:
• 5 New Ways to Avoid the Supermarket
• 3 Surprising Places You Can Find Local Food
• From Farm to Table, via the Web