The Cleveland Foundation gave a grant to Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) to study the economic development possibilities of locally grown food. Shuman released his study today, and his findings include.... * This area has a major institutional commitment to local food already, and leveraging that could take the 1% of locally grown food consumed to 25% within a decade. * That 25% level would create 27,000 new jobs, enough to employ 1 out of 8 unemployed people in the region. * The increase would also increase state and local tax collections by $126 million per year. Increasing the level of locally grown, locally produced food would provide lots of healthier, fresher food in food deserts where there is limited access to stores. It would likely bring down obesity and diabetes, as well as reduce unemployment and welfare costs. And it would have some impact on carbon emissions tied to food transportation. Shuman proposes to use vacant city lots as farmland, as well as expanding farming in local rural areas. Expanded local-food system can benefit Cleveland, study shows | cleveland.com I think this is genius and Shuman's book is now on my "must read" list. Off the top of my head, I wonder how far he proposes to take keeping livestock inside the city; what thought he gave to theft and vandalism losses; who would bear the brunt of lost peoperty value if a lot or acreage is rezoned for farming, etc. This cannot work if the advocates are too pollyanna about the planning, but Cleveland is hardly replete with glassy-eyed optimists. Your thoughts?