Speakers also raved about how locally grown produce on restaurant menus helped buoy foodservice sales mostly flailing because of the recession.
In fact, a summer survey suggested locally grown as one of the top trends in the restaurant industry.
According to a survey commissioned by Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill and conducted by Harris Interactive, half of adults said it was important for restaurants in their local areas to purchase produce from local farms. A majority said they were more likely to dine at restaurants that purchased produce locally.
Also, after declining for more than a century, the number of small farms has increased 20% in the past six years, to 1.2 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
No matter how the locally grown movement expands or contracts in the future, most agree — selling, buying and consuming more locally grown produce is good for nearly everyone.