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Know Your Bites: Does the USDA’s Local Farms Program Have a Chance?

Today, most of us see “local” as shorthand for fresh, delicious food that comes with a story attached—and that serves an alternative to consolidated, anonymous, commodity-based farming. But that hasn’t always been how the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sees it.

USDA is known for creating, subsidizing, and promoting industrial agriculture. So the agency’s effort to dip its toes into the local food movement in 2009 with its Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program (KYF2) raised eyebrows and questions. Could USDA really help create a thriving bottom-up food system? Or would it spread the term local, and the ethos behind it, so thin as to make it meaningless? Read more

Deputy Secretary of Ag Merrigan Live on Facebook Today

Today, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan holds her second chat on Facebook at 3pm eastern time, part of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Go here to watch it live. The focus of today’s chat will be a discussion around getting food from farmers to local schools, what has become known as “farm to school,” part of the necessary groundwork for improving the cost and quality of school lunches. In case you missed the first chat introducing the initiative, Obamafoodorama has the video here.