Yesterday, the USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program released a new report and an interactive website that illustrate how USDA programs help build local and regional food systems. Among the findings in the report: Every $1million in farm income from local and regional markets creates an average of 13 farm operator jobs.
This morning, NPR responded with their take: Local food is about food, and the USDA’s attempt to explain it in terms of jobs is an attempt to defend local food programs in a contentious political climate. The jobs argument, the article implies, is a tenuous one. “Hey, Locavores,” the title asks, “are you creating jobs?”
Well, with respect, our answer is a resounding “yes.”
The USDA released a new report today on its Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates USDA programs that strengthen local and regional food systems and strengthen their economies. Founded in 2009, the program uses existing USDA staff and infrastructure to simplify the process of putting public dollars to work for local economies through USDA programs.
Anatoth Community Garden’s founder, Fred Bahnson, spent a season starting garden workdays (and our garden network meetings) by reading a poem. You’d be surprised how smoothly a strategic planning meeting goes after everyone in the room has spent a few minutes quietly listening to something beautiful.
The Appalachian mountains of Ashe County are still covered in snow this time of year, but community leaders, churches, and farmers have already met to plan for the 2012 growing and harvesting seasons. This will be the pilot year of an effort called Outgrow Hunger, which aims to source Ashe County food pantries with 90,000 pounds per year of fresh produce from regional gardeners and commercial growers.
God gives people plants and seeds for farming as a gift in the first chapter of Genesis. Genesis tells us God created plants and their seeds, “each according to its kind,” called them good, and gave to humans to eat. For generations, farmers and gardeners have honored this gift, tending and improving their crops.