Food Matters in Our Community!

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Food Matters in Knoxville and Knox County!

Did you know that when you spend $100 at a locally owned business $45 stays in the community? If that same $100 were spent at a national chain only $13 would stay in the local community.

In Knox County, a typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table. While local farmers in Knox and Greene Counties are growing potatoes and carrots that only 30 to 100 miles away.

27% of retail sales are in the state of Tennessee are food related, while only 1% of Tennessee’s Gross Domestic Product is from agricultural production.

According to the last USDA Census of Agriculture, the number of Knox County farms have decreased by 13% from 2002 to 2007. The average age of farmers in Knox County has also steadily increased. In 1992, the average age of farmers in Knox County was 56 years old and by 2007, the average age was 60 years old.

Whole food processing activity in Knox County has declined, in 2011, Knox County chicken farmers had to send their chickens at least 120 miles away to be processed.

Knox County households spend $7,444 a year on foods at and away from home. These statistics and more are located in the Food Matters document that the Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council produced in 2011.

So what can you do to help grow our local food economy?

  • Support policies directed towards businesses that purchase locally grown goods to sell.
  • Support policies that increase agriculture production by farmers.
  • Support policies that provide incentives for farmers growing fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Support policies to increase urban and community gardens.

—and get involved with your local food policy council! The Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Knox County Health Department offices from 10am until 11:30am (140 Dameron Ave.)