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Best Cities for Locavores in 2021

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TASTE News Service, January 5, 2021 - Eating locally is in — again. During the pandemic, Americans renewed their appetite for the "locavore" diet, which consists of food from local places like nearby gardens, farmers markets, and farm-to-table restaurants.

Before lockdowns, nearly three-quarters of Americans were already eating locally produced food. A recent surge in direct farm-to-consumer sales suggests the trend has continued to grow.

But not all U.S. cities are equally suitable for meeting the needs of locavores. 

That's why LawnStarter, an outdoor services provider, crunched the numbers to determine 2021's Best Cities for Locavores.

They compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 14 key indicators of locavore-friendliness. These ranged from the prevalence of community-supported agriculture and farm-to-table restaurants to the sales of farm-to-consumer food per capita.

How did the cities fare? Here are the top and bottom 10 performers, followed by some key takeaways.


Best Cities for Locavores

Rank      City

1              Santa Rosa, CA

2              Ontario, CA

3              Salem, OR

4              Vancouver, WA

5              Worcester, MA

6              Anaheim, CA

7              Yonkers, NY

8              Jersey City, NJ

9              Fort Lauderdale, FL

10           Hialeah, FL


Worst Cities for Locavores

Rank      City

141         Lubbock, TX

142         Chicago, IL

143         Lincoln, NE

144         Omaha, NE

145         Laredo, TX

146         Colorado Springs, CO

147         Wichita, KS

148         Amarillo, TX

149         Sioux Falls, SD

150         Anchorage, AK


Highlights and Lowlights

Suburbs on a Plate: While many of America's largest cities find themselves ranked middle- to low-tier, satellite cities control most of the top spots on our list. Suburbs like Vancouver, WA — north of Portland — and Yonkers, NY — just outside the Big Apple — are ideal locations between urban amenities, such as bakeries and vegan restaurants, while still being a short drive from local farms.

California Grown: The Golden State dominates our rankings, claiming 10 of the top 20 cities. The reasons are obvious: California is an agricultural powerhouse. One-third of all vegetables and two-thirds of all U.S. fruits and nuts come from this single state. It's certainly easier to eat local when much of the nation's food supply is just down the road.

No Water in the Desert: Three of the 10 lowest-ranked cities are in Texas, with the 11th lowest hailing from the Lonestar State, as well. Amarillo was at the very bottom of our "Access" category, with only a single butcher shop and craft brewery per 100,000 residents. Other Texas cities ranked poorly, but these four near the bottom are all located in arid West Texas, where local produce is difficult to come by.


The full ranking and analysis can be found here:

Photo of produce shopper:

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