Thanks to Mangochild, writer of the blog Living In A Local Zone, I learned about a study conducted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa investigating the question: “Is local food more expensive than its non-local counterpart?”
In a nutshell: No.
For example, let’s say you have a vegetable basket consisting of zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, string beans, sweet onions, tomatoes, and sweet corn. The mean price per pound if those veggies are local was $1.25. The mean price per pound if those veggies were non-local was $1.39.
Note that the study was conducted during peak growing season. It’s common sense that if something is out-of-season, there is less of it and therefore costs more. To me this says when a fruit or veggie is in-season buy it locally for optimum value (and taste)!
Anyway, you can read the entire study as a PDF here.