Illinois could gain more than 5400 jobs and over $988 million in retail sales through increased production and marketing of 28 types of fruits and vegetables for local consumption according to a major study of the economic potential of increased fruit and vegetable production in the upper Midwest.
The same analysis shows that if local fruit and vegetable production were focused on the state's nearby major metro areas, including St. Louis, the potential gain could be approximately 4,100 jobs and over $783 million in retail sales.
The study, done by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and funded in part by Fresh Taste, reveals that meeting our entire statewide need for fruits and vegetables would require only about 69,000 acres of land, or just 0.3 percent of the state's 23.7 million acres of cropland. Just under 50,000 acres would be needed for the urban center option.
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The Leopold Center study is the first multi-state study in the upper Midwest to examine the potential economic benefits of fruit and vegetable production on a scale that would meet the needs of consumers in each of the six states. Download the full report here.