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Farmers Beginning to Understand What Consumers Want

December 9, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - The organization Practical Farmers of Iowa is bringing in a big name to tout local food. Fedele Bauccio is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Bon Appetit Management Company, which provides food services to more than 400 cafes in 31 states. As a result of consumer demand, Bauccio says he began purchasing food locally more than a dozen years ago.

"The farmers are starting to get it, and they're starting to look at things like the environment and the land, and animals and so forth, and they realize that consumers care about that"

Today, Bauccio's company buys its vegetables, meats and dairy products from small farms that meet its stringent criteria, usually from within a 150-mile radius of their chefs. He says food companies that buy local are helping preserve small family farm operations, but it will take more consumers making their wishes known to transform how food is produced.

"We need to change the system, and the only way to change the system is through consumers – and the only way consumers are going to change is going to vote their pocketbooks."

Besides providing fresh, chemical-free food, Bauccio adds operating in this fashion also reduces food waste by 20 percent. He will also be a featured speaker at the Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual Conference in January.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA