USDA Releases Case Studies and Mapping Tool of Local and Regional Food Projects

      Posted On: February 29, 2012

  Today, at 2:00 pm, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the launch of a new online resource that aggregates USDA supported local and regional food projects into a searchable map and database.  The Know Your Farmer Know Your Food site also features stories, case studies, and videos of successful local and regional food businesses.

When speaking to members of the USDA Farmers Market Consortium on February 22, Deputy Secretary, Kathleen Merrigan described the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food initiative as a “harnessing of USDA resources to increase synergy.” Since September 2009, the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Initiative, without full time staff or a budget line item, has facilitated communication and collaboration between agencies to better serve producers seeking to sell products to local consumers. The Know Your Farmer Know Your Food initiative exemplifies this unprecedented coordination of resources and expertise on local and regional food systems across USDA’s 17 agencies.

This new electronic tool, which can be viewed here, is an interactive web-based document and map featuring narratives and success stories from producers, businesses, and communities that have been recipient of USDA support. These case studies represent a wide variety of programs including the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), Specialty Crop Block Grants, and others. In addition, a geospatial tool shows where these grant investments have taken place.

This online resource is in keeping with the Know Your Farmer intent of increasing communication with stakeholders and the general public about opportunities available to communities seeking support for expanding farm-direct and short-supply chain marketing opportunities for America’s farmers and food producers. As Deputy Secretary Merrigan said in referring to the new report, “this is as transparent as government gets.”

The Farmers Market Coalition has fact sheets on the Farmers Market Promotion Program and FMPP Success Stories that are newly available on our site!  Together, these resources can help to educate communities and legislators, and provide market leaders with information to assist them in developing and promoting more regional projects.

Spread the word!  Let your region know about the unveiling of the project by:

  • Issuing your own press release about KYF programs and how they benefit your community, economic development, job growth, farmer income, etc. and the need for renewed funding in the next farm bill!
  • Blog about the report and compass with the same basic message.
  • Put links to the report and the map on your websites