Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

Posted on 11/09/2009 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook

USDA's new 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative has a goal of educating farmers, ranchers and consumers on how to develop local and regional food systems to support small and mid-sized farms and reinvigorate rural communities. 

"Americans are more interested in food and agriculture than they have been in several generations and by better connecting consumers of food to their producers, people across the country will have a greater understanding of the challenges in agriculture today and the effort it takes to put food on their table," Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. "We can revitalize rural communities and spur economic opportunity by strengthening the link between local production and local consumption."

The 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative includes such major agricultural topics as supporting local farmers and community food groups; strengthening rural communities; enhancing direct marketing and farmers' promotion programs; promoting healthy eating; protecting natural resources; and helping schools connect with locally grown foods.

The 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. Consumer demand for locally grown food in the United States is expected to rise from an estimated $4 billion in 2002 to approximately $7 billion by 2012.

Earlier this year, USDA launched a new website, www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer, which features social media tools to help focus the public conversation about farming and food, while engaging American agriculture and linking producers to customers. The 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' website directs consumers and producers to new media resources, such as information on the USDA blog, Facebook discussions, Twitter and YouTube videos. The public can also send their stories, ideas or videos to the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' team at knowyourfarmer@usda.gov.

To read case studies of operations involved in local food sales, visit AgMRC's business analysis section.

Categories: Local/Regional Foods