The food sector is one of the largest and fastest growing in the U.S. economy. Much of this expansion relies on industrial food production where the growth of produce and livestock are heavily subsidized to make them affordable to consumers. Products that are less expensive for consumers do not provide a good return for producers, particularly those on small- and medium-sized farms. In addition, commodity production is expensive, and in the long-term, damaging to our health and the health of our rural communities, our land and our water sources.
One of the most rapidly growing and promising segments of our food sector is in the demand for sustainably and organically grown products, and especially those that are locally grown, which often outstrips their supply, creating a shortage.
Commonly, these supply shortages result from a “food supply-chain barrier” – caused by a lack of distribution hubs – or market failure, like waste in the food system.
For every barrier in the food sector, however, there is an opportunity for addressing it. It is BAV’s mission to address these issues in ways that create jobs, and returns more dollars directly back to the local economy.
As national economic research shows:
- Every $1 invested generates $1.30 to $4 in return.
- Every food job created results in 1.2 to 6 more jobs.
Closer to home in the Berkshire region, there is a great sense of community, as well as potential for economic development through the growth of farming and the food sector.
The Berkshire region is increasing its presence in the national food landscape as a food destination, and providing fertile ground for a stronger and more resilient local food economy.