Virginia families and households spend over $19 billion annually on food purchases (Meter, 2011). These food dollars can be a powerful economic driver for Virginia’s farm and food economy. Virginia Cooperative Extension estimates that if each household in Virginia spent $10 per week of their food budget on locally-grown Virginia food; $1.65 billion would be generated annually in direct economic impact (Benson and Bendfeldt, 2007).
In 2008, Virginians spent $11 billion on food eaten at home. Foods eaten at home included $2.6 billion worth of meat, poultry, fish and eggs; $1.8 billion of fruits and vegetables; $1.5 billion of cereals and bakery products; $1.2 billion of dairy products; and $3.8 billion of sweets, fats, and oils (Meter, 2011). Therefore, every Virginia community would benefit from more farmers producing products for in-state purchase and consumption.