Ohio shoppers continue to support locally produced foods, and the trend should bode well for growers, according to a Ohio State University study conducted in 2008.

The number of respondents who reported "frequently" purchasing locally grown or produced foods remained steady since 2006, according to the survey.

"Over 75 percent of Ohioans said they 'occasionally' or 'frequently' bought foods that are locally grown or produced in both our 2006 and 2008 surveys," says Molly Bean Smith, research associate with the college's Social Responsibility Initiative in Columbus.

The survey, conducted every two years since 2002, was mailed to 3,500 randomly selected Ohioans between March and June 2008, according to a news release. The response rate was more than 48 percent, which is favorable for this type of mail survey.

The effort is coordinated by Jeff Sharp, associate professor of rural sociology in the Department of Human and Community Resource Development.

Slightly more than half of the respondents reported spending more than $50 on farm products or food items directly from a farmer during the previous year, Smith says. That includes 18 percent who said they spent more than $200, and 6 percent who spent more than $500.

The 19 percent of respondents who said they frequently purchase foods directly from a farmer spent a median of $200 during the course of the growing season.

To view the entire report, visit http://ohiosurvey.osu.edu.

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