“By buying local in Maryland, consumers are supporting the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and the more agriculture thrives, the more land stays in production, which is the preferred use,” Powell said.
This has been especially important post-recession.
“Consumers want the dollars they spend to go back into the local community. It makes you feel you are doing your part to support the community,” said Kate Siskel, marketing and media relations manager for BrightFarms, New York.
Marketers also agree that the perception of a fresher product is one of the main pushes behind the locally grown movement.
“The perception is that if it doesn’t travel far, it’s fresher,” Powell said.
Sometimes consumers just want to know where their food came from.
“Consumers increasingly want to know about what they’re eating beyond the food’s name,” said Mary Ostlund, marketing director at Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals Inc.
In addition, consumers like having a personal connection to their food.
“They want to connect with the farmers themselves. They can go online to see the story of the farmer growing watermelon 20 or 50 miles away and identify with who they are,” Powell said.