By requesting local foods, meeting planners can play a large role in providing healthy and sustainable food for participants. There are certainly environmental, community and health benefits to this practice. What about the economic advantage, you ask? The Sunday Oregonian published some interesting data yesterday regarding cost savings.

They investigated three examples associated with the delivery of a pound of fresh blueberries to points of sale.

1. Air freight from Chile. You pay about $18 per pound (berries typically come in 4.4 ounce containers and sell for $5.) This does not include customs clearance or ground handling on arrival in the US which could add 20 cents a pound to the cost.
2. Ground transportation. You pay about $3.50 per pound. This is based on a refrigerated trailer traveling within 100 miles following major multiple-retailer channels to the point of sale.
3. Local Farmers Market Direct Delivery. You pay about $2.50 per pound. This is based on a shipment originating 20 miles away traveling in a nonrefrigerated pick up truck.

Considering the source of the food we serve can add up to a cost savings everyone will enjoy!