I am honored to have been invited to author the Food chapter of this report, based on Transition Sarasota's “State of Our Foodshed Forum,” which took place on October 28th of this year at the Ringling College of Art & Design. This chapter includes many eye-opening statistics, such as:
- The vast majority of Sarasota County's 283 farms are under 50 acres;
- Only 5.8% of the 80,143 acres of total farmland in Sarasota County is being used for growing crops;
- 14.8% of the total population of Sarasota County (or 56,740 people) are considered "food insecure";
- During the 2011-2012 school year, Sarasota County Schools purchased 50% (or nearly $1.2 million worth) of its produce from Florida farms; and
- If all Sarasota County residents would buy just 10% of their food directly from a local farmer, we could add $80 million per year or more to our local economy.
All in all, Sarasota County's Sustainability Assessment Report is a must-read for Sarasota County residents interested in sustainability, as it provides a concise overview of past efforts, current challenges, and priorities for future action.
To download a complete, full-color PDF copy of the report, please click here.