Are You Rural Made?
According to the USDA, 46.2 million people call rural areas “home”. Since 2009, the USDA has been targeting rural areas to help rural businesses grow. As part of their commitment to strengthen rural economies, the USDA announced a new state-by-state “Made in Rural America” report illustrating the impact of these investments in rural communities. These reports include snapshots of specific USDA investments in rural businesses, manufacturing, energy, water and other infrastructure development.
These investments made by the USDA are creating new markets for both farmers and business in four key areas; production agriculture, local and regional food systems, the bio-based economy, and conservation and natural resources. A majority of these investments help value-added agriculture producers and businesses. This includes removing barriers to U.S. trade, providing resources, and expanding markets by investing in new infrastructure, innovations and tools.
Gardens: Literally and Figuratively Growing
With an increase demand for local foods and knowing where your food comes from, it is no surprise that food gardening in the U.S. is at the highest levels in more than a decade. The National Gardening Association has released a special report to show how growing food in America has changed from 2008-2013.
· 35% of American households are now growing food – up 17% in since 2008
· Americans spent $3.5 billion on food gardening in 2013 – up from $2.5 billion in 2008.
· 76% of all households with a food garden grew vegetables – increase in 19% since 2008.
· From 2008 to 2013 the number of home gardens increased by 4 million to 37 million households, while community gardens tripled from 1 million to 3 million, a 200% increase.
· Households with incomes under $35,000 participating in food gardening grew to 11 million - up 38% from 2008.
View the whole Garden to Table: A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America, here.