The local food movement has grown steadily in cities and towns around the country as farmers markets, and CSAs take root, and farmers begin selling to restaurants, colleges and other institutions, either directly or through a food hub. While these so-called "farm to table" efforts show great promise, one challenge frequently remains: Price. To help overcome this problem, SCALE undertook a two part effort to first, examine how some food enterprises are making local buying work, and secondly, to develop a tool that more accurately determines the real cost difference when buying local food.
The results are now available as Putting Local on the Menu and the Local Food Cost Calculator. There are two versions of the calculator: one designed for restaurants, the other for college and university dining services.