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The Chicago Tribune reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new $65 million dollar initiative called “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” that the paper says is designed to “support local and regional food systems, strengthening agriculture and thus triggering economic opportunities on a community level.”

In addition, USDA announced that it will promote the initiative through the creation of a farmers’ market in Washington, DC, that will be located right outside the White House. “It’s a real symbol to the rest of the country that we care and are aware of what’s going on,’’ says Ann Wright, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.
KC's View:
Sure, there will be naysayers who will argue that there is no inherent advantage in local agriculture…but the current administration clearly does not accept that notion.

I have to say that at the very least, this seems consistent with the White House’s broader approach to health and wellness. If you really want to have an impact on health care in this country, a good place to start is with how people eat. I’m not sure they needed to put a farmers’ market in Lafayette Park, but I guess it proves something when you put your money where your mouth is.

One final point. There are retailers out there that prominently post signs in their stores that identify the farms and farmers that are their source of product – I was in a wonderful PCC Natural Market in Seattle this week that did so, and that also pointed out the company’s broader support for the PCC Farmland Trust, which it says “secures, preserves and stewards threatened farmland in the Northwest, to ensure that generations of local farmers productively farm it using sustainable, organic growing methods. The Trust takes its mission one step further than most land trusts by working to place farmers on the property, actively producing food for the local community.”

I am impressed. (As I was, by the way, by everything I saw and learned about PCC’s operations.)