Strolling of the Heifers is a Vermont non-profit known for its Localvore Index that ranks US states for the general availability of local food in each state. For the past two years, Vermont has reigned at the top of this list. The ranking is based on the ubiquity, per capita, of direct markets – like CSAs, farmer’s markets, farmstands, any type of market that emphasizes the direct relationship between the farm and the customer – that point to the proliferation of farm and food activity within a state’s borders.
While direct markets per capita have certainly provided a good measure of the emergence of local food accessibility in the last decade, there are now questions if this method continues to measure the depth of the local food market. This article, from April 2015 considers how the inclusion of wholesale markets might alter theLocalvore Index. An interesting read, and important for us to consider how Vermont would rank if measured across markets, from direct to wholesale. Would Vermont still top the list? If not, what can we do to get back on top?