The USDA recently launched a new initiative - Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. Its aim is "to begin a national conversation to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity." There is even a YouTube channel with more information on the initiative. Sounds great! What are the specifics?
There are $65 million in associated grants, including $3.4 million to go to underserved and socially disadvantaged farmers, and $4.4 million to help 23 local business cooperatives in 19 states. There are also farm storage facility loans and value-added producer grants - both direct to farmers and producers. Farm-to-school tactical teams will be deployed to school to "assist school administrators as they transition to purchasing more locally grown foods. The agencies will also issue updated common-sense purchasing guidance to schools so they can buy fresh, locally grown produce for students eating through USDA's school nutrition programs." Sounds great!
The new website, Facebook and twitter chats are aimed at opening up the discussion about how Know Your Farmer can help those most in need and make the biggest impact. So, please share your thoughts with our government about these new initiatives.