Study seeks to uncover local food demand in Alberta

A file photo of fruit and vegetables.
A file photo of fruit and vegetables. The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — How much demand is there for local food in Alberta? That’s the question Alberta Agriculture and Forestry hopes to answer.

The department put out a request for proposals on Friday for a study of local food demand.

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“A growing number of producers sell local food to Albertans through various market channels such as farmers’ markets, u-pick, on-farm stores, roadside stands, off-site farm stores, community supported agriculture (CSA), food basket programs, grower cooperatives, as well as local restaurants that source food ingredients direct from Alberta producers,” the document reads.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry conducted a study in 2004 on how much consumers are spending on local food and “a similar consumer study is needed to benchmark and compare with results from previous studies.”

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The project will be composed of two parts: a consumer study and an expert panel study.

The consumer study will cover consumer spending in farmers’ markets, farm retail and restaurants that source local food as well as consumers’ preferred methods of communications with those who sell local food. It will be conducted primarily through focus groups and telephone surveys with residents.

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The expert panel study will cover local food programs and trends and be conducted through interviews.

The project has a budget of $83,000 and is expected to run from June 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017.

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Submissions must be submitted by April 11 and a winning bid will be selected April 26.

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