USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative will begin a national conversation to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity. To launch the program, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recorded a video to invite Americans to join the discussion and share their ideas for ways to support local agriculture. The video is just one of many ways USDA will engage with consumers and producers, who can comment on the YouTube playlist, as well as submit videos or provide comments by e-mailing [email protected]. This week, USDA will announce approximately $65 million in funding for Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.
“An American people that is more engaged with their food supply will create new income opportunities for American agriculture,” Vilsack says. “Reconnecting consumers and institutions with local producers will stimulate economies in rural communities, improve access to healthy, nutritious food for our families, and decrease the amount of resources to transport our food.”
One component of the initiative is the Farm-To-School program that aims to better connect children to their food and create opportunities for local farmers to provide their harvest to schools in their communities. Farm-To-School teams will tour America’s school cafeterias to identify challenges and opportunities to help them transition to purchasing more locally grown foods. The teams will work with local farmers, local and state authorities, school districts, and community partners to develop Farm-To-School projects and provide assistance on the best ways to buy more local produce for the National School Lunch program.