US poll finds support for ‘local’ producers despite higher cost

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd May 2012

Three-quarters of Americans support a nationwide program to double the value of  food stamps when used at farmers markets, according to a survey released today, commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), is an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal giant, Will Keith Kellogg. The survey was conducted by Lauer Johnson Research of 800 adults using mobile or landline phones from 18–22 April 2012.

Food stamps provide financial assistance for food purchasing to low- and no-income people and families living in the U.S. It is a federal aid program.

According to WKKF, 68 per cent of those surveyed also said it was “very important” that all Americans have equal access to fresh fruits and vegetables. An additional 25 per cent said it is “somewhat important.”

Survey found strong support for farmworkers and local growers

Respondents to the WKKF survey also showed support for those harvesting their produce. Asked if they would be willing to pay US$1.50 more for produce each month to ensure fair wages are paid to those picking fruits and vegetables, 88 per cent strongly or partly agreed.

A study by the US Economic Policy Institute said such a raise would increase the pay of a farm worker making $10,000 a year to $14,000, which would be above the poverty line.

The WKKF poll found that more than 80 per cent of respondents strongly or partly agreed that Washington, D.C. should shift its support toward smaller, local fruit and vegetable farmers and away from large farm businesses. Nearly 90 per cent of respondents said they strongly or partly agreed they would pay more for produce if that money stayed in the community.

WKKF’s vice president of program strategy, Dr. Gail Christopher said, “Americans are telling us they support a values-based food system. They favour locally grown and produced food, community involvement, sustainability and fairness, which helps to ensure safe, healthy and affordable food for everyone.”