May 26, 2024

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just released Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) Compass. This interactive tool is part of the KYF2 initiative to strengthen local and regional food systems.

USDADemand for local foods is increasing. The popularity of farmer’s markets and farm stands is skyrocketing as consumers seek out fresher and more economical foods. Supporting local food producers also helps local economies in these tough economic times.

In fact, the USDA’s Kathleen Merrigan said, “Every million dollars in sales through local markets supports thirteen jobs.” In contrast, agricultural facilities that do not have a regional focus generate three jobs for every million dollars in sales.

The Union of Concerned Scientists agrees. They say that for every farmer’s market that existed in 1970, there were 20 in 2011. Dollars spent on local food stay in the local community, and can increase economic development. Support for 500 farmer’s markets could create more than 13,000 jobs over a five year time period.

The Compass is an interactive online multi-media narrative that uses stories, videos, and pictures to tell consumers about the USDA’s support of local food. An interactive map has all of the USDA-supported food activities in all 50 states.

With this new tool, consumers can find farmer’s markets, businesses that participate in local food chains, and meet farmers and ranchers.

There’s going to be a Twitter party on March 5, 2012 about local and regional foods. Follow hashtag #KYF2 and join in at 2:30 pm EST. We’ll be there!

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