Hannaford career Center students Cymbre Casavant (center) and Miranda Warner (right) survey Middlebury-area consumers about their organic food buying habits—farmers markets vs. supermarkets vs. food coops.
Hannaford Career Center students Cymbre Casavant and Miranda Warner are on a mission. The two teens are conducting a survey around the Middlebury area for a unique classroom project to better understand organic-food buying habits.
The girls, enrolled in the vocational school’s agricultural program, want to know why local residents buy—or don’t buy—organic foods. They also would like to know about buying habits, especially when it comes to purchasing local produce.
“We have been asking consumers as well as food providers, like farmers and farmers market vendors, about their food buying habits,” said Casavant, a first-year student at the career center.
“Why people buy organic depends on a lot of things,” said Warner, a second-year student. “We’re also asking if the price of food affects whether or not a person buys organic.”
Both girls said the data will be used for their class project and help better understand local food trends.
“More and more Vermont food growers are going organic,” Casavant said. “And their reasons vary as much as the kind of organic food they can find locally.”
Both girls concur that local consumers buy organic food in many places—either from one of several area farmers market during the summer months or from supermarkets and food cooperatives, such as the popular Middlebury Food Coop on Washington Street. Hannaford Supermarket also has a growing organic foods section.
Organic food and beverage sales represented approximately 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2010. Leading were organic fruits and vegetables, now representing over 11 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey.