In every state, people are connecting directly with their food each time they bite into a local apple, grill a local steak or create a salad with local ingredients. Local food is about the products that farmers and ranchers grow and raise. It’s about the businesses that bring food from farms to our tables, and efforts to connect consumers with producers like farm to school and agritourism. And it’s about the sense of pride behind campaigns like “Buy Fresh, Buy Local,” “Appalachian Grown,” or “Idaho Preferred” that let consumers know their food dollar is flowing back into their local economy. Women play a prominent role in developing local and regional food systems that are creating jobs, pulling new people into agriculture, connecting communities, and improving health.
On Tuesday, July 17th at 3:00pm EDT, Jon Carson, White House Director of Public Engagement, and I will join inspiring women leaders in the field of local foods through a Google+ Hangout to hear their stories and answer your questions. It’s also a chance to see more stories like theirs when we unveil the 2.0 version of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. An innovative digital guide and map, the KYF Compass highlights USDA-supported local food projects around the country. The 2.0 version features thousands of local food projects in all 50 states and includes keyword and zip code search features.
Will you join us? Here are the details:
Tuesday’s event will be an opportunity to talk about local food with some of these women from around the country, including:
Cory Carman of Carman Ranch in Oregon, a fourth-generation farmer who works closely with local processors and distributors to sell her beef directly to customers and to local universities, colleges, and restaurants;
Chris Kirby, who coordinates a Farm to School program on behalf of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and connects local producers with hundreds of local schools across the state;
Susan Noble, Executive Director of the Vernon Economic Development Association (VEDA) in Wisconsin, who spearheaded revitalizing an abandoned factory into a successful food businesses incubator;
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, MD, who created the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative, an inter-governmental collaboration aiming to increase access to healthy affordable food across the city;
Pamela Roy, Executive Director of Farm to Table in Albuquerque, NM and Director of the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, which advocates the connection between local food systems, health, nutrition, hunger and stewardship;
Valerie Segrest of the Muckelshoot Indian Tribe near Seattle, WA, who works as the Community Nutritionist and Native Foods Educator for the Northwest Indian College's Cooperative Extension Department and sees local and traditional foods as a way to preserve her heritage.
Kathleen Merrigan is Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture