The West Virginia Road Map for the Food Economy

The “buying local” trend has emerged within the last few years. In the United States, especially in West Virginia, food agriculture businesses are finding themselves at critical and electrifying times of opportunity. From 2006 to 2008, West Virginia small restaurants and hotels showed a 360% increase in purchases of local products. In the 2012-2013 school year, the WV Department of Education committed $250,000 in school food funds for local purchases. More than a dozen of county school systems reported buying directly from West Virginia farms in 2012, while four of these began buying locally since September 2011. Even the Martinsburg VAMC sees fresh, healthy meals as an ingredient of recovery for their patients and has spent over $23,000 on local food.

From 2002 to 2007, 39% more local West Virginia farmers began selling directly to consumers. And the dollar amount of direct-to-consumer sales increased by 55%. This means that farmers are capturing a greater portion of the consumer food dollar by marketing products as directly as possible from farm to table as demand grows, new business models are also emerging to provide the kinds of processing, aggregation and distribution required to meet the needs of sophisticated buyers.

This growth creates jobs for farmers and also for other parts of the state’s economy. A recent study by Downstream Strategies, LLC and WVU showed that if West Virginia farmers grew enough produce to meet the in-season fresh produce needs of all state residents, the shift would generate 1,723 new jobs and would result in about $190 million being retained in the state instead of flowing beyond its borders. Increased local sales of West Virginia products also creates the need for businesses that collect, process and distribute local food, which creates more local jobs. For example, one Iowa study found that every 1,000 cattle sent to small meat processing facilities supported 7.4 processing jobs.

So a common question that you might find asking yourself is… What exactly does “buying local” mean? There is no universally agreed-upon definition for the geographic component of what “local” or “regional” means, consumers are left to decide what local and regional food means to them. A 2008 survey found that half of consumers surveyed described “local” as “made or produced within a hundred miles” (of their homes), while another 37% described “local” as “made or produced in my state.”  The ability to eat “locally” also varies depending on the production capacity of the region in question: people living in areas that are agriculturally productive year-round may have an easier time sourcing food that is grown or raised 100 miles (or even 50 miles) from their homes than those in arid or colder regions, whose residents may define “local food” in a more regional context.

The Morgantown Farmers’ Market, for example, sells products that are grown or made within 50 miles of Morgantown city limits. So all of their products are supporting small family farms.

So, West Virginia has developed a “food charter” that’s designed to help us all focus, measure and celebrate our collective progress towards stronger local food systems. This Road Map for the Food Economy offers a vision for WV’s local food economy and provides ways of measuring how statewide and local policies, programs, and community efforts are contributing to the strength of this food economy. The Road Map is broken down into 2 parts: an action plan for building a food and farm economy over the next 5 years; and a “Food Economy Score Card” which allows us to measure the cooperative progress towards the goals of the action plan. The Food Economy Score Card will be updated annually and then the positive changes and progression will be distinguished in an annual report.

This Road Map is for everyone!It’s offered more as a tool to help people (and consumers) in West Virginia understand the key opportunities of the food policies and economy. Local government, citizens groups, policy makers, farmer groups, foundations, agencies, economic developers and other concerned groups are invited to adopt or adapt the Road Map as a guide to form an action plan for their own efforts.

So, how can you get involved?

          Adopt the Road Map for the Food Economy charter: encourage your local government, citizens group, legislators, farmer organization, community foundation, economic developers or other concerned agencies to sign on at

          Stay connected to statewide organizing efforts through the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition by signing up for our newsletter, and by attending statewide events hosted by other groups — such as the West Virginia Small Farm Conference, hosted by WVU Extension Service and its West Virginia Small Farm Center.

          Buy Local: set a goal for how much your family, business or agency will spend on local food. At home, consider buying at least $10 worth of locally produced food per week. At work, consider sourcing at least $500 worth of local food for events and meetings each year.

          Find simple ways to work on the Road Map’s action items within your own community. Tell your school superintendent about the importance of Agriculture Education; let a farmer know about farm to school opportunities, or help start a nutrition education class at your local farmers market. If you are part of a civic organization, help that organization choose an action item to work on this year.

Why should the Road Map matter to you?

The problem that I’m really trying to shine light on is the fact that food access has a HUGE effect on food insecurity in the U.S. right now. The State Indicator on Fruits and Vegetables 2013 reports that the percentage of census tracts with at least one healthier food retailer within a ½ mile of tract boundary in West Virginia is at 59.3%. Currently, West Virginia does not have a healthier food retail policy. West Virginia also does not currently have a state-level farm-to-school/preschool policy. The entire state only has 1 food hub. Yes, only one! And West Virginia has no local food policy councils. That’s right… zero!

As a community why can’t get try to enclose this gap in food access with the products that are right in front of us? Well, only time will tell how this community attempts to resolve this problem.

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HOD Backgrounder

2015 Dietary Guidelines

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Logo Concepts revised

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Market Segmentation

Separating customers into market groups provides the basis for successful strategy development in marketing a restaurant. Market segmentation is the process of dividing a total market into groups of people with similar needs, wants, values, and purchasing behaviors. A market is not a place, but rather a group of people, as individuals or organizations. The group needs products and possesses the ability, willingness, and authority to purchase them. A market segmentation is a mixture of individuals, groups, or organizations that share one or more characteristics, which causes them to have similar product needs.

In a homogenous market, a marketing mix is easier to design than one in a heterogeneous group with dissimilar needs. Choosing the correct variable for segmenting market is important in developing a successful strategy. Variables are often broken down into 4 categories for the segmentation process: geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioristic.

Variable: Geographic

          Region:

o   Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, West South Central, East North Central, East

          City/metro population:

o   Under 5,000; 5,000-20,000; 20,000-50,000; 50,000-100,000; 100,000-250,000; 250,000-500,000; 500,000-1,000,000; 1,000,000-400,000; 4,000,000 or over

          Density

o   Urban, suburban, rural

          Family life cycle

o   Northern, southern

Variable: Demographic

          Age:

o   Under 6, 6-11, 12-19, 20-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+

          Gender:

o   Male, female

          Family size:

o   1-2, 3-4, 5+

          Family life cycle:

o   Young, single; young, married, no children; young, married, youngest child under 6; young, married, youngest child 6 or over; older, married, with children; older, married, no children under 18; older, single; other

          Income:

o   Under $10,000; $10,000-$15,000; $15,000-$20,000; $20,000-$30,000; $30,000-$50,000; $50,000-$100,000, $100,000 and over

          Occupation:

o   Professional and technician; managers, officials, and proprietors; clerical, sales; craftspeople, foreman; operatives; farmers; retired; students; housewives; unemployed

          Education:

o   Grade school or less; some high school; high school graduate; some college; college, graduate

          Religion:

o   Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, other

          Race:

o   White, Black, Asian, Hispanic

          Nationality:

o   American, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese

Variable: Psychographic

          Social class:

o   Lower lowers; upper lowers; working class, middle class, upper middles, lower uppers, upper uppers

          Lifestyle:

o   Straights, swingers, longhairs

          Personality:

o   Compulsive, gregarious, authoritarian, ambitious

Variable: Behavioristic

          Occasions:

o   Regular occasion, special occasion

          Benefits:

o   Quality, service, economy, speed

          User status:

o   Nonuser, ex-user, potential user, regular user

          Usage rate:

o   Light user, medium user, heavy user

          Loyalty status:

o   None, medium, strong, absolute

          Readiness stage:

o   Unaware, aware, informed, interested, eager, intending to buy

          Attitude toward product:

o   Enthusiastic, positive, indifferent, negative, hostile

Geographic variables include climate, terrain, natural resources, population density, and subculture values that influence customers’ product needs. Demographic variables consist of population characteristics that might influence product selection like age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, occupation, family size, family life cycle, religion, social class, and price sensitivity. Psychographic variables include many factors that can be used for segmenting the market, but the most common are motives and lifestyle. Lifestyle segmentation categorizes people according to what is important to them and their mode of living. A classification system for segmenting customers in terms of lifestyle factors is the VALS: Values and Life-Styles research program. The VALS model is broken down into 3 parts:

          Ideals:

o   Consumers make choices based on their knowledge and principles.

          Achievement:

o   Consumers make choices based on what they perceive will show their success to their peers.

          Self-expression:

o   Consumers make choices based on a desire for social or physical activity, variety, or risk.

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Beware of the Mushroom?

Another elderly person has died from accidental mushroom poisoning at a California senior care facility, bringing the death toll to four.

The latest victim, 92-year-old Dorothy Mary Hart, died at a nursing home, according to The Associated Press. The date of her death has yet to be released.

The first two women died the day after a caregiver at their senior-care facility inadvertently served them a meal with poisonous mushrooms picked on the Loomis, Calif., property Nov. 8. The caregiver and three other residents of Gold Age Villa were hospitalized,  according to the ABC News affiliate in Sacramento.

Dr. Pierre Gholam, a liver specialist at University Hospitals in Cleveland, said he has seen an uptick in wild mushroom poisonings in his area, too. More than two dozen patients have arrived in the past three years with telltale mushroom poisoning symptoms, he said, including diarrhea followed by kidney and liver failure.

Gholam, speaking to ABC News by phone from a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston earlier this month, said doctors there from across the country report similar increases in mushroom poisoning patients, even in areas not typically known for mushroom poisonings, such as the Midwest.

“Clearly, there is something that has changed, in my mind, that has led to more mushroom poisoning cases,” he said. “It looks like a nationwide phenomenon.”

The reasons are unclear but Gholam suggested that more people could be picking their own mushrooms in the bad economy to save money.

Gholam’s hospital is one of only a few authorized by the federal government to give patients an antidote called silibinin, which blocks the poison from attacking the liver. Fourteen patients have come from up to 150 miles away for the life-saving drug.

The poison in these mushrooms is called amatoxin, and it’s colorless and odorless, so people who pick or eat them won’t know until it’s too late, Gholam said. The poison fungi can also come in different sizes and shapes. Cooking or freezing the mushrooms does not deactivate the toxin.

Typically, people begin to feel sick within six hours of eating the mushrooms, and come down with severe diarrhea, which causes dehydration and kidney failure, he said. Without the antidote, liver failure can set in after 72 hours, and the needs a liver transplant after 96 hours.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/mushrooms-kill-fourth-california-senior-us-cases-rise/story?id=17826740#.ULwUbobJpqQ

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