'Locavores' give local economy a boost

POSTED: 07:08 PM MDT Mar 13, 2013    UPDATED: 02:49 PM MDT Mar 14, 2013 

Local farmers are placing an emphasis on “locavores.”

“Locavore” is a new term used to describe those who buy produce from local farmers, and some say this trend is not only a healthy option, but there is evidence this might also be healthy for the local economy as well.

Wendy Swore has been farming with her family for almost two decades, and this year they are deciding to give this new Community Supported Agriculture trend a shot.

“That is where you go in with a farmer, you buy a share for Spring, and you get the produce the entire harvest long,” Swore said.

CSA is a “locavore” program that has been recently picking up among farmers across southeast Idaho. Swore said the program is a more concentrated effort where farmers plant for people who come in and tell them how much food they will need to be supplied with in order to hold them over all harvest long.

But the local farming industry has also been sparking up discussion about its impact on the local economy, hoping the CSA program will help catalyze local economic development and growth.

John Regetz is the executive director of the Bannock Development Corporation and says the local agriculture industry, both of perishable and nonperishable crops, is the single largest sector of the Idaho economy; where this trend will start attracting more large companies into the region.

“Now you have two groups of people, whereas, if the plant were here and they shipped the product from outside, it would just be those people in the plant driving the benefit," Regetz said as he gave an example of how the developing domino effect. "But now there are the local growers who are selling barley and who have dollars to put back into the community.”

But, Swore said despite the numerous local farms in the region, this number is on the decline. She attributed this to farmers who are getting too old for the farming business and starting to sell their land.

According to Swore, once the land is sold, the possibility it will be used for farming decreases to the point where the farm no longer exists since the younger generations no longer have an interest in maintaining the family's farming legacy.

In the meantime, this trend will continue to pick up speed as the harvesting season rapidly approaches and the weather starts getting warmer. And all Swore and her family can do is remain optimistic.

“We're hoping the program takes off and we'll be able to continue it for lots of years.”

For more information about the CSA program, visit Swore's website at: www.sworefarms.com

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