Advertisement

buy local food

USDA Wants You to Buy Local Food

A new USDA initiative aims to promote and assist shoppers who want to buy local food, but it's not entirely clear how it will work.



USDA Wants You to Buy Local Food

The government wants to give you field-fresh food.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is going local. In an effort to get both consumers as well as schools, hospitals, and other institutions to purchase locally grown food, the agency launched a "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" program, which will provide $65 million in funding to farmers and small-grower coops for things like direct marketing and grants that will help them cut costs on processing and shipping.

THE DETAILS: In a press release about the new program, Vilsack was quoted as saying, "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." Merrigan also noted that the program will help farmers develop strong local and regional food systems, and promote sustainable agricultural practices. How the agency plans to do that is still unclear. The secretaries announced four specific initiatives aimed at promoting the use of local food in schools, hospitals, and health care facilities; creating a cooperative program that will provide opportunities for small meat producers to sell their products across state lines; establishing new farmer and business cooperatives; and creating a grant for food processors in the Pacific Northwest that will help them reduce energy consumption. Aside from those, they said that efforts will be made to "use existing USDA programs to break down structural barriers that have inhibited local food systems from thriving."

WHAT IT MEANS: This is welcome news for anyone who wants easier access to healthy, fresh, locally-grown food. "On the face of it, it looks great," says Jessica Prentice, the local food advocate who coined the term "locavore" in 2004 and who wrote a book on the benefits of eating local called Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection.

"This is what we want our USDA to be doing, connecting people to their food source." And it also means healthier food for the planet. "When you start to go local and get to know your farmer, it inevitably pushes things to a more humane, sustainable approach," Prentice says. When you're asking a farmer what he sprays on his crops or whether another allows her chickens to run free, "the farmer becomes accountable to you," she says.

Published on: September 16, 2009
Updated on: April 29, 2011



More from our Authors

Learn how much happier and healthier you can be WITHOUT sugar ruining your life!

Get the fed out of the food!

"This is welcome news for anyone who wants easier access to healthy, fresh, locally-grown food. "On the face of it, it looks great," says Jessica Prentice, the local food advocate who coined the term "locavore" in 2004 and who wrote a book on...."

Oh boy, I bet the taxpayers really enjoyed paying those 65 million dollars for my passion in life.

How about the fed just shut down, go home and stay out of our business!

VIDEOS

FREE DOWNLOAD!
Download a FREE chapter from The Exercise Cure and learn how to get your daily dose of the world's most effective preventive medicine. Click here for your FREE copy!





Advertisement
Free Newsletter
Sign up for the FREE daily newsletter and get useful tips to keep yourself, your family, and the planet healthy and thriving.

  The Daily Fix
Authoritative reporting on the latest developments in health, food, and the environment

  Maria's Farm Country Kitchen Newsletter
Get cooking tips, learn about healthy living and even raising chickens—Maria does it all!



Your Privacy Policy

BE SOCIAL WITH US!