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How access to fresh produce varies across America

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Natalie Maynor // Flickr

How access to fresh produce varies across America

As climate change threatens the global food supply, how countries feed themselves has become increasingly complex in the past century. This is especially true in America where there has been a dramatic decline in the American agricultural labor force, the disappearance of farms, and an increased reliance on imported goods.

From 1950–1990, America saw a 74% drop in the number of family and self-employed farm labor, and between 2007 and 2012 the United States lost more than 90,000 farms. Today more than 50% of America’s fruit is imported, and about a third of the vegetables in the supermarket are from another country.

This is a time when food insecurity exists simultaneously with an obesity crisis, with only 12% of American adults meeting the daily recommended fruit intake and even less meeting the daily recommended vegetable intake. When you look at the national averages, this shouldn’t be the case: There are 2.7 farmers markets per 100,000 residents, 41.8% of school districts participate in farm-to-school programs, and 44.8% of middle and high schools offer salad bars.

On top of that, there are 234 local food policy councils that help make sure state and local food systems are working, and they often work to increase access to nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. There are also 212 food hubs that actively manage the entire consumer chain of locally and regionally grown food. In short, food hubs make it easier to access locally grown produce.

While the United States is producing more food than ever before, the problem is many communities don’t have access to healthy food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. This is concerning because research has shown that poor diet is one of the leading risk factors for disability and death.

To explore how access to fresh produce varies from state to state, Stacker consulted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2018 State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, which includes the most recent statistics available. The report pulls together data from various country-wide government surveys: the numbers of farmers markets per 100,000 residents are up to date as of 2017; the percentages of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs are accurate as of 2014; the percentages of middle and high schools offering salad bars are from 2016; the numbers of local food policy councils are from 2018, and the numbers of food hubs are up to date as of 2017.

Read on to find out more about access to produce in your state.

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Dan // Flickr

Alabama

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.9 (7.4% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 30.8% (26.3% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 41.7% (6.9% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 1

Food deserts—areas with limited access—still pose a big problem for many rural communities in Alabama. Last year, an online farmers market was introduced in the state and now Birmingham’s Till lets customers buy food from local farmers for pick-up or delivery.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

Alaska

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 5.3 (96.3% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 76.3% (82.5% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 26.1% (41.7% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 3

For Alaskans eating healthy is challenging. Cold weather and lack of sunlight limits produce that can grow in the region. Harsh winters can make fresh produce deliveries sparse, which is problematic considering 95% of its food comes from elsewhere. Fresh food is also more expensive; a single orange can sometimes cost $5.

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brianna.lehman // Flickr

Arizona

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.3 (51.9% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 25.3% (39.5% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 49.5% (10.5% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 3
- Number of food hubs: 3

Due to its proximity to the Mexican border and the port of entry city Nogales, fresh produce is one of the major economic drivers in Arizona. According to one University of Arizona study, the state is the tomato import capital of the United States. And while it may not be thought of as a big accomplishment, tomatoes created more than 33,000 full- and part-time jobs and contributed $4.8 billion to the state’s economy.

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Pixabay

Arkansas

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.6 (33.3% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 22.3% (46.7% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 40.9% (8.7% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 2

Arkansas has the most food deserts in the United States. Every county has at least one area that’s considered a food desert. However, there is an increase in efforts such as mobile markets to help bring fresh produce to people living in food deserts.

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Glenn Highcove // Shutterstock

California

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.9 (29.6% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 54.9% (31.3% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 54.8% (22.3% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 29
- Number of food hubs: 14

California is the largest and most diverse agricultural state in America. It produces 13% of the crops in the United States, and is the nation's only producer of walnuts, kiwis, and pomegranates. But according to a study published in a 2018 issue of the journal Agronomy, almost all those crops will be endangered by climate change. Throughout the past 10 years, the state has seen wildfires, droughts, floods, and storms decimate entire crops. Like many other states, California has food insecure communities

Charitable organization Food Forward helps get fresh produce into the hands of low-income people across eight Southern California counties, while also preventing food waste by donating surplus produce that would otherwise go to waste. 

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City of Greeley // Flickr

Colorado

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.8 (3.7% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 41.8% (0% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: Data not available
- Number of local food policy councils: 16
- Number of food hubs: 3

Colorado’s leading fruit crops are peaches and apples. The climate in Colorado—warm days and cool nights—helps bring out the sweetness in fruit. According to the Colorado government, the state produced 27.5 million pounds of peaches in 2016.

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Bob Nichols // www.usda.gov

Connecticut

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 4.3 (59.3% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 70.3% (68.2% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 37.1% (17.2% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 5
- Number of food hubs: 2

New Haven has the best school wellness policies, according to research by Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity and professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at UConn. She analyzed the wellness policies that were implemented in 2006 at each school across Connecticut; she found the policies that support healthy eating were better in schools reporting that more students were below the poverty line. “We thought the wealthier districts would have stronger policies, but we found the opposite,” Schwartz said in an interview with CT Mirror.

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Michele Dorsey Walfred // Flickr

Delaware

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.8 (40.7% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 60% (43.5% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 12.8% (71.4% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 0

Produce Junction in Delaware is a store that specializes in fresh produce only. The store only has three sections: fruit, vegetables and flowers. It’s also known for stocking exotic fruits and vegetables not typically found in the state.

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Natalia Bratslavsky // Shutterstock

Florida

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.2 (55.6% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 45% (7.7% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 16.4% (63.4% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 8
- Number of food hubs: 4

Oranges are one of Florida’s most famous crops. After tourism, it’s the state’s second-largest industry. But last year 90% of the state’s citrus crops were infected with a bacterium that prevents the fruit from ripening properly. The result has been a devastating knock-on effect on the farming and orange juice industry.

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liz west // Flickr

Georgia

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.5 (44.4% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 61.6% (47.4% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 28.6% (36.2% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 7

Behind California and Florida, Georgia is the third largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables. The climate along with the diversity of soil allows for Georgia to produce an abundance of fresh produce year-round.

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Shelby L. Bell // Flickr

Hawaii

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 6.9 (155.6% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 47.4% (13.4% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 32.3% (27.9% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 3

Hawaii is the most isolated state, and even though it could probably grow almost any kind of produce it wants, it imports 90% of its produce. In 2012, more than 66% of Hawaii's agricultural sector was export-based—those pineapples and bananas make more money being sent to the mainland. But after a big push from the government as well as from activists to eat local, Hawaii is now on track to be more food independent. By 2030 Hawaii hopes to double local food production.

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Pixabay

Idaho

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.7 (37% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 44.7% (6.9% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 56.4% (25.9% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 1

Idaho is a state best known for its potato crop. It’s the top potato-producing state, with an annual production of 15.5 billion pounds in 2019.

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Walmart // Flickr

Illinois

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.6 (3.7% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 24.4% (41.6% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 37.6% (16.1% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 7

People in Illinois are one step closer to being able to use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online since the Illinois House recently approved legislation that could make it happen. This move would allow people in food deserts, or those who are homebound, to use their SNAP benefits to get local produce shipped to them using retailers like Amazon or Walmart.

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ND700 // Shutterstock

Indiana

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.9 (7.4% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 31.2% (25.4% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 44.8% (0% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 3

In Indianapolis, a pilot program lets families struggling with food insecurity take a $2 round-trip Lyft ride to six grocery stores. The initiative helps people stuck in food deserts get fresh produce.

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Pixabay

Iowa

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 7.3 (170.4% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 29.2% (30.1% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: Data not available
- Number of local food policy councils: 5
- Number of food hubs: 5

About 90% of Iowa’s land is dedicated to farming, with 55% dedicated to livestock and 45% for crops. Its biggest crop is field corn—not to be confused with corn on the cob traditionally served at a barbecue. This corn is hard, dry, and used to feed livestock as well as to make ethanol.

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Pixabay

Kansas

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 4 (48.1% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 32.6% (22% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 76.6% (71% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 11
- Number of food hubs: 1

While Kansas is known for its wheat production and has been dubbed the breadbasket of America, more than 30% of the state is considered a food desert. In 2017, the Kansas Health Foundation injected $4 million into the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative, which helped create nearly 140 jobs and brought healthy food to more than 63,000 people, the majority of whom were living in low-resource counties.

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U.S Dept. of Agriculture // Flickr

Kentucky

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.9 (7.4% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 48.1% (15.1% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 25.6% (42.9% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 2

In 2013, about 50% of the adults in Kentucky ate fruit just once a day and 25% ate vegetables less than once a day, according to the CDC. Part of the problem was that many markets didn’t accept federal nutrition assistance benefits. To fix this, the Kentucky Department of Public Health teamed up with numerous community organizations across the state to improve healthier food access in low-income communities. After the initiative, 68% of people surveyed said they now eat more fruits and vegetables.

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PxHere

Louisiana

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.7 (37% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 33.3% (20.3% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 26.1% (41.7% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 2

In 2019, the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority and Hope Enterprise Corp. established Louisiana’s Health Food Retail Program to help grocery stores in underserved communities that were affected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The new program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the State of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, awarded $800,000 of flexible financing to bolster sales of fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Allagash Brewing // Flickr

Maine

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 7.2 (166.7% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 79.4% (90.0% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 82.4% (83.9% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 11
- Number of food hubs: 2

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the past 10 years, food insecurity has grown faster in Maine than any other state. More than 16% of Maine households had trouble putting food on the table between 2014 and 2016, which some experts attribute to lower than average income.

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Jeff Potter // Flickr

Maryland

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.7 (0% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 68.3% (63.4% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 27.8% (37.9% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 8
- Number of food hubs: 8

In Maryland, you don’t need a license to sell fresh fruits and vegetables. But this only applies if the fruit or vegetable in question is whole and raw. If any type of processing has been done to it, a license is required, even if it’s just chopping it into bite-sized cubes.

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Daniel Brody // Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 4.7 (74.1% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 68.4% (63.6% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 39.7% (11.4% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 6
- Number of food hubs: 9

Haymarket is the oldest outdoor market in Boston and one of America’s oldest open air markets. It’s been around since the 1800s, when farmers and merchants would gather to sell their produce to Bostonians. Today more than 40 vendors hawk their goods at some of the lowest prices in New England, according to its website.

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Wendy Piersall // Flickr

Michigan

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.4 (25.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 43.2% (3.3% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 54.1% (20.8% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 15
- Number of food hubs: 10

Traverse City is the cherry capital of America, producing 75% of the nation’s tart cherries. It’s so famous for cherries there’s a cherry festival every summer.

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Marco Verch // Flickr

Minnesota

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.5 (29.6% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 50.6% (21.1% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 73.4% (63.8% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 5
- Number of food hubs: 5

Minnesota is the largest green pea producer in the country. It’s also a huge producer of pea protein, which is used in products like Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat alternative.

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Natalie Maynor // Flickr

Mississippi

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.8 (3.7% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 50% (19.6% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 15.5% (65.4% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 4

Agriculture is the largest industry in Mississippi, but more than one-third of its residents live in areas that have low access to food. Quitman County, for example, turned into a food desert when its only grocery store closed in 2017. Now people need to drive more than 40 miles to get groceries. And that’s not out of the ordinary—in the nation’s poorest state more than 70% of food stamp-eligible households have to travel 30 miles or more to reach a grocery store.

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Pixabay

Missouri

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 4.2 (55.6% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 27.4% (34.4% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 58.2% (29.9% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 3
- Number of food hubs: 3

A program called Known and Grown STL in St. Louis launched in 2019 with a focus on marketing environmentally responsible farmers. Its efforts have not only helped the community know where to get fresh food in its area, but also increased awareness of locally produced fruit and vegetables.

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Gemma Billings // Flickr

Montana

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 6.7 (148.1% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 40.2% (3.8% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 76.9% (71.7% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 2

The Produce Depot does grocery shopping in a different way. While from Monday to Friday it’s a distribution business selling wholesale produce to restaurants, it recently decided to try its hand at a farmers market-style store on Saturdays at its new Billings location. Customers pay $20 or $40 per bag and then fill it up with all the fresh produce they can fit.

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Pixabay

Nebraska

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 5.1 (88.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 28.9% (30.9% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 85.5% (90.8% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 3
- Number of food hubs: 1

Nebraska is the #1 producer of popcorn in the United States: It grows more than 300 million pounds of it every year. But it doesn’t just grow popcorn—Nebraska is the third largest corn producer in the states and grows eight different types of corn used for everything from eating to biofuels.

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Kayla Waldorff // Shutterstock

Nevada

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.3 (51.9% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 22.2% (46.9% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 23.3% (48% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 1

Nevada’s geography is mostly mountains and desert. It is the driest state in America with an average of about 10 inches of rainfall a year, which can make it especially difficult to grow fresh produce. But when there’s a will, there’s a way. Indoor farming is a current trend in Nevada, producing microgreens and nontraditional crops 365 days a year.

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ilovebutter // Flickr

New Hampshire

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 7.1 (163% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 76.7% (83.5% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 48.7% (8.7% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 1

Gleaning is a historical term that means to gather leftover produce after the harvest. Food organizations in New Hampshire are minimizing food waste to help improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables by donating the gleaned produce to food-insecure communities.

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Pixabay

New Jersey

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.7 (37% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 48.3% (15.6% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 27.1% (39.5% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 3
- Number of food hubs: 0

The Garden State produces more than 100 varieties of produce. At the top of the list are apples, bell peppers, cranberries, and blueberries, with the state responsible for cultivating wild blueberries into the products sold in stores today.

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U.S. Dept. of Agriculture // Flickr

New Mexico

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.4 (25.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 34.5% (17.5% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 43.4% (3.1% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 3
- Number of food hubs: 1

Almost 17% of New Mexico’s population is food insecure. But New Mexico Fresh Foods, a new food processing facility in the capital city of Santa Fe, uses a technique that helps keep food fresher longer and allows it to be shipped to other locations with less spoilage.

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littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

New York

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.4 (25.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 60.7% (45.2% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 57.9% (29.2% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 4
- Number of food hubs: 11

Union Square Greenmarket in New York City started in 1976 with just a handful of farmers. Today, the market is open year-round and can have up to 140 vendors offering seasonal produce. With nearly 60,000 visitors a day, the place is bustling. Customers might even just bump elbows with New York’s elite chefs.

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Pixabay

North Carolina

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.5 (7.4% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 62.2% (48.8% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 13.3% (70.3% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 22
- Number of food hubs: 12

Since 1971, North Carolina has been the #1 sweet potato producing state, growing 60% of the nation's sweet potatoes. North Carolina is also known for melons, pumpkins, tomatoes, and squash.

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U.S. Dept. of Agriculture // Flickr

North Dakota

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 8.6 (218.5% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 31.3% (25.1% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 91.2% (103.6% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 0

North Dakota has lost about 20% of its grocery stores in rural areas. A study currently being conducted in the state aims to highlight the main problems with transportation and distribution of produce to rural areas to help fix the grocery store decline.

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Renee Denise // Shutterstock

Ohio

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.9 (7.4% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 26.6% (36.4% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 31.6% (29.5% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 14
- Number of food hubs: 10

In 2016, Ohio child care regulations failed to meet national standards for obesity prevention, including “regularly providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables.” The Ohio Department of Health along with other organizations across the state managed to improve nutrition standards in 80% of Ohio counties. A shining moment of success is that all Cincinnati public schools now have a salad bar.

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Pixabay

Oklahoma

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.8 (33.3% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 21.3% (49% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 63.6% (42% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 2

Oklahoma has hosted a watermelon festival for the past 70 years that is attended by 20,000 people. About 50,000 pounds of watermelon are consumed at $1 a slice.

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Zig Zag Mountain Art // Shutterstock

Oregon

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 4.1 (51.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 54.9% (31.3% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 74.9% (67.2% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 4
- Number of food hubs: 5

The marionberry is Oregon’s pride and joy. It’s a cross between two types of blackberries—Chehalem and Olallie. According to NPR, it was bred at Oregon State University as part of a berry-developing partnership. It’s almost exclusively consumed in the state because the berry is too soft to be shipped.

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Gerry Dincher // Flickr

Pennsylvania

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.4 (11.1% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 44.2% (5.7% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 39.6% (11.6% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 5
- Number of food hubs: 12

Reading Terminal Market is a historic farmers market in downtown Philadelphia. It’s one of America’s oldest and largest markets, established in 1893, where you can find a wide range of goods, from Amish bread to produce fresh from local farms.

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Roger LeJeune // Flickr

Rhode Island

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3.4 (25.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 90.5% (116.5% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 58.8% (31.3% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 2

Relish Rhody is Rhode Island’s sustainable food strategy. It wants 50% of the food eaten in New England to be produced there. It aims to achieve the goal by 2060.

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el Buho nº30 // Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.7 (0% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 51.6% (23.4% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 24.9% (44.4% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 3
- Number of food hubs: 1

Since 2011, collard greens have been South Carolina’s state vegetable. The vegetable has a 9-year-old girl from Lexington to thank for its heightened status.

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South Dakota

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 4.7 (74.1% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 31% (25.8% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 85.3% (90.4% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 2

Dakota Fresh, a South Dakota food hub, expanded in 2019 to offer weekly retail sales to anyone able to pick up their order at a delivery location.

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Tennessee

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.9 (29.6% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 50.9% (21.8% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 32.3% (27.9% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 2
- Number of food hubs: 4

Tomatoes are Tennessee’s state fruit, as well as being its #1 fruit crop. Tomatoes contributed $54 million to Tennessee's state economy in 2018. 

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Micolas // Shutterstock

Texas

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 0.8 (70.4% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 28% (33% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 21.9% (51.1% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 6
- Number of food hubs: 7

Brighter Bites is a nonprofit organization that works mostly in cities across Texas to deliver fresh fruit and veggies directly to families. However, unlike many food co-ops, Brighter Bites also conducts dietary research with the families on how the added fruit and vegetables changed their behavior.

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wolfaaron // Wikimedia Commons

Utah

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 1.4 (48.1% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 34.9% (16.5% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 46.7% (4.2% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 0

Utah's Famous Fruit Way is a strip of fresh fruit and vegetable stands along U.S. Highway 89. Dozens of local farmers set up stands between July and October each year.

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Vermont

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 14.9 (451.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 82.5% (97.4% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 86.2% (92.4% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 7

While apples are an agricultural staple in Vermont—the state pie is apple after all—there are some surprising fruits that grow in Vermont. There’s kiwi, quince, and lots of berries—gooseberries, aronia, seaberries, thimbleberries, nannyberries, and elderberries to name just a few.

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Arina P Habich // Shutterstock

Virginia

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 3 (11.1% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 56.7% (35.6% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 24% (46.4% below national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 8
- Number of food hubs: 12

Morningside Urban Farm is just one of several farms teaching Roanoke citizens how to grow their own produce. This farm offers plots in the community garden for only $30 to plant whatever their hearts desire. It’s part of the Roanoke Community Garden Association, which now has seven community gardens, an urban orchard, and 250 gardeners.

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Washington

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 2.3 (14.8% below national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 48.5% (16% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 65.8% (46.9% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 5
- Number of food hubs: 8

The state of Washington leads the United States in apple and pear production. Around 70% of all the apples in the country come from Washington. The state is also the third-largest producer of pears in the world.

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DC Greens

Washington D.C.

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 7.8 (188.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 76.6% (83.3% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 46.4% (3.6% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 1
- Number of food hubs: 1

In Washington D.C. physicians can write prescriptions for fresh fruit and vegetables through a program called Produce Rx. The prescriptions can be redeemed for free fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets and grocery stores. The food access program helps at-risk patients manage their diet-related chronic illnesses.

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MOs801 // Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 5.1 (88.9% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 82.5% (97.4% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 82.1% (83.3% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 4

In southern West Virginia, a farm incubator known as Sprouting Farms is helping aspiring farmers to create their own farm businesses. It provides training and land so that they can grow local produce and reclaim the food system.

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Wisconsin

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 5.3 (96.3% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 48.9% (17% above national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 63.9% (42.6% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 7
- Number of food hubs: 2

Cranberries were first harvested in Wisconsin in the 1800s. Now the state is the #1 producer of the fruit, growing 64% of the nation’s supply. Nearly 95% of the supply is used for jams, juices, and other foods. 

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Wyoming

- Farmers markets per 100,000 residents: 8.3 (207.4% above national average)
- Share of school districts participating in farm-to-school programs: 31.4% (24.9% below national average)
- Share of middle and high schools offering salad bars: 77.5% (73% above national median)
- Number of local food policy councils: 0
- Number of food hubs: 0

The Casper Community Greenhouse Project helps build greenhouses in communities and at schools. Its mission is to create a place that promotes urban and rural agriculture, as well as healthy eating habits in the community.

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