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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

USDA provides directions to the local market

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and Undersecretary Katherine Merrigan today unveiled the new Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. The online tool aims to spur ideas on how to generate more local and regional food resources and offers examples of local producers benefiting from the program, which got underway two years ago.

During a webinar announcing the launch of the Compass website, Vilsack and Merrigan took questions via Twitter. Vilsack said farmers will benefit from it by identifying local markets where they can sell their produce at while enhancing the connection between farmers and consumers. Merrigan noted that farmers and ranchers who make use of local infrastructure keep more wealth in the community and create jobs.

Local food issues are gaining steam. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have introduced legislation with similar goals, the Local Farms, Food and Jobs bill. At the launch of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program two years ago, some people engaged in production agriculture were less than enthused. Given the amount of recent attention on the lack of trust that consumers have in our food system, here’s hoping that production Ag interests will get behind a government effort aimed at making the connection between farmers and consumers stronger.

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Table Scraps:

-  Must read letter from the editor of Food Safety News to the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant chain regarding a recent outbreak of E. coli.

-  In California, the US Attorney’s office announced that a former president of an organic fertilizer company had pleaded guilty to fraudulently selling synthetic fertilizer to organic farms.

-  Mother Jones reporter Adam Sewer examines recent moves by the industrial food PR flunkies at the Center for Consumer Freedom.

-  Omnieater has a good take on the recent Chipotle Grammy advertisement in the latest Edo Ergo Sum blog.

Tweet of the day:

? @sustainableag.@USDA says that the last Ag Census turned up 61,000 jobs in direct marketing of local food: #localfood. LOCAL FOOD CREATES JOBS.

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