Press Release â€“ for immediate release February 2, 2006
WALDROP FINDS $722 MILLION TO BOOST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA ECONOMY
For more information, contact Bob Waldrop, 405-613-4688, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Everyone talks about economic development, but too often we donâ€™t see the forest for the trees,:” says Bob Waldrop, candidate for mayor of Oklahoma City. “Oklahoma City will prosper as central Oklahoma and the state of Oklahoma prosper.” This is why the Waldrop campaign for Mayor is highlighting the seriously under-appreciated economic development possibilities of buying food directly from farmers.
“If the population of Oklahoma County bought its beef, pork, poultry, fresh vegetables, flour, butter, cheese, eggs, and milk directly from central Oklahoma farmers, this would pump $722,668,000 into the marketplace, creating as much as $2.1 BILLION in economic activity thanks to multiplier effects right here in central Oklahoma.”. Much of this money is being spent already, but it gets siphoned off out of the area into the pockets of transnational food corporations that control the food aggregation and processing markets. Waldrop says, “We get the food, but the money disappears. By buying locally produced foods directly from farmers, we get to eat the food and still have the money circulating in the area.”
Waldrop says, “Farmers generally receive 10 to 20 cents of the supermarket food dollar, depending on the product. By shifting more of the food dollar directly to the farmer, we strengthen the economy of central Oklahoma and that boosts the economy of Oklahoma City. This city rises or falls with the prosperity of the counties and towns that surround us. If we think we can become a world city while the rural areas around us are falling off the economic map, we need to understand that â€˜denialâ€™ is NOT a river in Egypt. Oklahoma has thousands of part-time farmers, and the fastest and cheapest way to create jobs in rural Oklahoma is to help those part-time farmers become full-time farmers who sell direct to the public. More jobs in rural Oklahoma means more prosperity in Oklahoma City.”
Customers in cities can shop at farmers markets, they can use friends or family in rural areas to contact local farmers, and they can use structures such as the Oklahoma Food Cooperative (Waldrop is the President of the cooperative) to make this almost as convenient as going to the grocery store.
Waldrop says, “Besides the economic advantages, meat from free ranging flocks and herds tastes better than meats from the industrial food system. Oklahoma grown vegetables and fruits are far superior than those shipped here from 2,000 miles away. All I have to do to prove this is put a plate in front of someone and hand them a fork. We have bought nearly all of our meats, poultry, eggs, cheese, flour, and vegetables directly from farmers for 2 years, and we arenâ€™t going back to mystery meat and mooshy tomatoes. So itâ€™s not as if anybody is being asked to sacrifice anything here. Local food is the next big thing in food, just ask any chef.”
“While everybody isnâ€™t going to wake up tomorrow and change their food buying habits, every dollar spent directly with a farmer creates up to $3 in economic activity and puts more of the original dollar into the farmerâ€™s pocket. That is good business for the farmer, and it is even better business for the city, because where do the farmers go to spend their money? They go to the city,” says Waldrop.
If elected Mayor, Waldrop promises to work with the State to change certain state regulations which make it difficult for farmers to sell some products directly to the public. Supporting Oklahoma farmers and creating local food systems should become a priority with Oklahoma City economic development planners. The City can set a good example by serving local foods at city events, making sure that local foods are sold and used at venues such as the Ford and Cox Centers, provide space on favorable terms for farmers markets throughout the city, and work with the school system, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, and the Oklahoma Food Policy Council to get Oklahoma food into school cafeterias.
DETAILS OF THE $722M LOCAL FOOD INDUSTRY POTENTIAL IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA:
Oklahoma County population: 680,000
US beef consumption per capita: 65 lbs
Oklahoma County beef consumption: 44.2M lbs
Value at $3.75/lb average price: $165.9 Million
Number of steers required/year: 126,437
Note: As the local food marketplace develops, buffalo is likely to become increasingly important. It tastes as good as beef, but has less fat and cholesterol than chicken. The Waldrop household uses as much buffalo as it does beef. Waldrop says, “Chicken fried buffalo steak is great!”
US pork consumption per capita: 51 lbs
Oklahoma County pork consumption: 34.7 million pounds
Value at $2.10/lb: $72.9 M
US poultry consumption per capita: 82 lbs
Oklahoma County poultry consumption: 55.8 million
Value at $2/lb: $111.6 million
US turkey consumption per capita: 13 lbs
Oklahoma County turkey consumption: 8.8 million lbs
Value at $2.50/lb: $22.1 million
US egg consumption per capita: 21 dozen
Oklahoma county egg consumption: 14.3 million dozen
Value at $3/dozen: $42.9 million
US milk consumption per capita: 24 gallons
Oklahoma County milk consumption: 16.3 million gallons
Value at $3/gallon: $49 million
US fresh vegetable consumption per capita: 195 lbs
Oklahoma County fresh vegetable consumption: 132.7 million lbs
Value at $1/lb: $132.7 Million
US flour consumption per capita: 138 lbs
Oklahoma County flour consumption: 93.9 million lbs
Value at 50 cents/lb: $46.9 Million
US cheese consumption per capita: 30 lbs
Oklahoma County cheese consumption: 20.4 million lbs
Value at $3.50/lb: $71.5 million
US butter consumption per capita: 4.2 lbs
Oklahoma County butter consumption: 2.8 million pounds
Value at $2.50/lb: $7.1 million
Per capita consumption figures: Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, available online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/foodconsumption/FoodAvailSpreadsheets.htm#mtredsu .
Economic multiplier effects of local food purchases: Oxfam America, citing USDA research, http://www.oxfamamerica.org/whatwedo/where_we_work/united_states/news_publications/food_farm/art2564.html .