FBNews Highlights Farm Bureau Local Food Projects
USDA recently hosted a Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Compass event. The KYF Compass is an interactive web-based document and map highlighting USDA support for local and regional food projects and successful producer, business and community case studies.
The event included a “tweetup” using the social media site Twitter and the hashtag #KYF2 to expand the National Conversation on Local and Regional Food projects. I had the opportunity to speak about AFBF’s partnership with USDA’s National Ag Library to develop Start2Farm.gov, a website offering resources for beginning farmers, and how local and regional food projects are creating economic opportunities for Farm Bureau’s farmer and rancher members.
The centerfold of the March 19 issue of FBNews highlights a number of these Farm Bureau local food initiatives:
Virginia Farm Bureau’s “Save Our Food,” was created because, “according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Virginia has lost an average of 104,000 acres of farmland every year since 2002. That’s 285 acres a day. Every day. All year long. When those farms disappear, we lose much more than just land: We lose access to safe, fresh, locally grown produce, grains, meats and dairy products, we lose hundreds of jobs and thousands of dollars in revenue that supports our community economies, and we lose our ability to feed ourselves, forcing Americans to rely on foreign sources of food – and putting our communities’ and our nation’s security at risk.”
San Mateo County Farm Bureau’s “As Fresh As It Gets” wanted to bring attention to the abundance of products from this California coastal area. Farmers, fisherman, restauranteurs and hotel owners work together to offer residents and visitors alike the excellent cheeses, wines, beers, fish and farm products from the region.
Arizona Farm Bureau’s “Fill Your Plate” is a website that connects farmers to consumers. You can find out what is in season, where to find it, where the farmers’ markets are, how to cook what you bought at the market and nutrition info. The Farmer Forum encourages dialogue between food producers and eaters, and you can even visit Arizona farms by visiting their video page.
These are just a few of the many Farm Bureau initiatives involving local and regional food systems across the country. I could also offer Discover Jo Daviess County (IL), Indiana Farm Bureau’s New Food For Thought, the Kentucky Roadside Farm Markets, and Tennessee Farm Fresh…