There's no doubt about it, farmers markets are gaining in popularity across the country. Aided by the foodie and environmental movements, local agriculture creates jobs and delicious food for neighborhoods and communities. Yesterday, in an effort to support the trend, and to highlight the female entrepreneurs who have pioneered it, the USDA hosted a Google+ hangout to unveil the 2.0 version of their "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" Compass.
In addition to providing up-to-date maps, business case studies, and a search engine to promote access to fresh food, the compass highlights other positive externalities of local food production, such as job creation. The USDA worked in partnership with the American Farm Bureau to create a program called Start2Farm, which helps beginning farmers find the information that they need. The program was founded to facilitate the growth of small farms and to encourage food entrepreneurs.
Since 1910, there has been a steady decrease in both the number of farms, and the number of farm workers in the United States (number of farms has been slashed by more than two thirds). The goal of both these programs is to reverse that trend, and encourage a healthy conversation around what we eat.
USDA Celebrates Know Your Farmer Tool from Farm Futures
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